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Hormone-blocking therapy – is it worth it?

Free online information session

When:  Held on Thursday, 6 June 2019

What Time: 7.00 - 7.45 pm AEST

About the Webinar

Hormone-blocking therapy (also called endocrine therapy) is usually prescribed for women diagnosed with hormone receptor positive breast cancers. Hormone-blocking therapy works by lowering the amount of oestrogen in the body or by blocking oestrogen receptors on cancer cells. These drugs are very effective in treating hormone receptor positive breast cancers and reduce the risk of breast cancer returning - but for some women staying on hormone-blocking therapy for the long-term can be challenging.

Many women experience menopause-like symptoms when taking hormone-blocking therapies. While for some women these symptoms are mild and easily managed, for others it can be a real challenge to maintain the treatment for the long-term because of troublesome side effects.

Breast Cancer Network Australia’s hormone-blocking therapy webcast will explore the challenges women with breast cancer face taking hormone-blocking therapy including ways to manage the side effects and reduce impacts on quality of life. This is an interactive information session where you will hear from leading experts, as well as a woman dealing with the challenges of hormone-blocking therapy and have the opportunity to ask questions online.

Kirsten Pilatti, CEO BCNA


Dr Richard de Boer, Medical Oncologist

Dr. Richard de Boer completed his general medical training and then medical oncology training at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. In 1997 he undertook a 3-year breast and lung cancer clinical research Fellowship at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, working with Professor Ian Smith.

He returned to Melbourne in 2000 and since then has been a consultant medical oncologist working in both public and private practice. He is currently a consultant medical oncologist in both the breast and lung cancer units at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

His primary breast cancer interests focus on endocrine therapy and mechanisms of resistance, and treatment-induced bone loss and bone metastases. His lung cancer interests focus on targeted therapies, predictors of response/survival, and small cell lung cancer. He is actively involved in clinical research, and is the principal investigator in both local and international studies. He is a member of the Australian New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group, and until recently was the head of the Breast Trials Group of Cancer Trials Australia. He has authored articles appearing in journals such as the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Annals of Oncology, The Breast and British Journal of Cancer.

Martha Hickey, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Melbourne

Martha Hickey is Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Head of the Gynaecology Research Centre at the University of Melbourne and the Royal Women’s Hospital, Victoria, Australia. She is also an NHMRC Practitioner Fellow. In her clinical practice she runs the largest public menopause service in Australia and in 2002 established the first multidisciplinary service for managing menopausal symptoms after cancer (MSAC). 

This service has now been replicated across Australia. She is a Senior Editor for the Cochrane Collaboration Gynaecology and Infertility Group and leads the international COMMA (Core Outcomes in Menopause) initiative.  

Mrs Kate Keogh Murray (BCNA member)

Kate Murray, 52, was born and raised in Melbourne. Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at 51, had a mastectomy and chemotherapy, and is still going strong at 84. In 2013 Kate's sister was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer at 44, had a mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and was put on Tamoxifen. A year later her cancer had metastasised and she died in 2016 at 47. Seventeen months later at 51, Kate was diagnosed with ER+ early breast cancer via a routine mammogram. After two surgeries she had chemotherapy, and after much thought, and many questions, a double mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction in April last year. Prescribed Letrozole for five to ten years, Kate crossed her fingers and hoped she'd be one of the lucky ones who escaped side effects. Unfortunately she did not. Living with her husband and father-in-law, Kate is raising her sister's two children as well as two of her own. Managing all this and dealing with the Letrozole side effects is proving quite challenging.

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