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Arimidex targets cancer by lowering estrogen levels
Arimidex is a front-line treatment for postmenopausal breast cancer in women, slowing its growth in advanced stages and treating the spread of the disease to other parts of the body.
Arimidex is also able to increase testosterone levels in men, by reducing excess estrogen in the body.
Arimidex breast cancer treatment combats the kind of breast cancer that thrives on estrogen. It is an adjuvant therapy, in other words it is used in addition to primary treatment to reduce the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer returning.
It can be prescribed along with other drugs to treat the early stages of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. As an adjuvant therapy, it is in the same company as chemotherapy drugs, radiation and targeted therapy.
The whole purpose of adjuvant therapies is to help destroy cancer cells that were not removed during surgery and, by so doing, reduce the chances of the disease returning.
Arimidex is used to lower estrogen levels and is particularly helpful in treating breast cancer in postmenopausal women, either in the early stages of the disease or after it has spread to other parts of the body.
How does Arimidex work?
High estrogen levels in the body – either caused by toxins, environmental factors or aging – are believed to contribute towards the formation of cancers in both men and women, in particular prostate cancer, cervical cancer and breast cancer.
Arimidex is a hormonal treatment which helps fight cancer by lowering the levels of certain estrogens. This is particularly important in patients with early breast cancer because the tumour cells use estrogen to grow.
Arimidex uses a process called aromatase inhibition to lower estrogen levels. After menopause a woman’s ovaries stop producing estrogen and her adrenal gland takes over, converting androgens into estrogens.
This conversion is called aromatization and it relies on the action of the enzyme aromatase. Arimidex prevents aromatization by binding to the aromatase.
In clinical trials, postmenopausal women with early breast cancer were treated with Arimidex or Tamoxifen, the standard adjuvant therapy for postmenopausal breast cancer. The study followed the women over a 5-year period and Arimidex was shown to be significantly more effective in reducing the risk of breast cancer returning.
Arimidex and men
Although it is primarily used to treat breast cancer, Arimidex is also approved to increase testosterone levels in men. There are estrogen levels in men, just as there are testosterone levels in women, so aromatization can occur in both sexes.
It may seem unusual to associate Arimidex and men, but it is equally important to keep levels of estrogen in the male body in balance. Excessive levels of estrogen, in particular estradiol, in men can cause benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), gynecomastia (the development of male breasts), and symptoms of hypogoadism (lack of function in the testes).
Men can benefit from using Arimidex to increase testosterone levels in their body. This will reduce the amount of testosterone and adrenal hormones that are converted into estrogens.
A number of factors can have an influence on testosterone levels. Men experience decreasing testosterone levels by age. A number of changes occur that can alter the balance between testosterone and estrogen. In fact, it is not unusual for a 59-year old man to have more estrogen circulating in his body than a 54-year old woman.
So, men wanting to reduce their conversion of testosterone and adrenal hormones into estrogens may well benefit from taking a regular dose of Arimidex.
The recommended dosages of Arimidex depend on the condition is being taken for. In postmenopausal women, the dose is usually 1mg, daily by mouth.
An average of 0.25mg to 0.50mg Arimidex per week is recommended for men who want to lower their estrogen levels. As with any course of medicine, it’s always advisable to consult your doctor first.
Arimidex has proven its worth as a front-line, non steroidal treatment for combating breast cancer in postmenopausal women and reducing estrogen levels in men.