Progestin Hormone Therapy for Endometrial Cancer

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Progestin Hormone Therapy for Endometrial Cancer

Examples

Generic NameBrand Name
medroxyprogesteroneProvera
megestrolMegace

How It Works

A woman's body makes the hormone progesterone. Progestin is the man-made form of progesterone. It is usually given in pill form.

Hormone therapy works by blocking the action of hormones and stopping cancer cells from growing.

Why It Is Used

Progestin hormone therapy may be used to slow the growth of endometrial cancer. This may be done when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Or it may be done for a young woman with early-stage cancer so she can become pregnant in the future.

How Well It Works

Progestin hormone therapy has been shown to slow cancer cell growth for up to 30% of women who had advanced endometrial cancer. This therapy also helped to slow cancer cell growth in women who had endometrial cancer that had come back after treatment.1

Side Effects

Progestin hormone therapy can cause side effects, including:

  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Dizziness.
  • Mild shortness of breath.
  • Weakness.
  • Headache.
  • Hot flashes or sweating.
  • Decreased sex drive.
  • Insomnia.

Serious side effects are rare but may include:

  • An allergic reaction.
  • Sudden severe headache.
  • Changes in eyesight.
  • Numbness or swelling in an arm or leg.

Progestin hormone therapy is also used as an appetite stimulant. You may experience an increased appetite, which could result in weight gain.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Progestin hormone therapy may be given to women who are unable to have surgery or radiation therapy.

Women who have endometrial cancer that has spread to other parts of the body may live longer if they receive progestin hormone therapy.1

Complete the new medication information form (PDF) (What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

References

Citations

  1. National Cancer Institute (2010). Endometrial Cancer Treatment (PDQ): Health Professional Version. Available online: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/endometrial/healthprofessional.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Ross Berkowitz, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised February 1, 2011

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