How do I prepare for my hormonal therapy procedure?

You are an important member of your own healthcare team. The steps you take before hormonal therapy can improve your comfort and outcome. You can prepare by answering all questions about your medical history and medications. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbal treatments, and vitamins. It is a good idea to carry a current list of your medical conditions, medications, and allergies at all times.

If surgery is planned, you can prepare by:

  • Getting preoperative testing as directed. Testing will vary depending on your age, health, and specific procedure. Preoperative testing may include a chest X-ray, EKG (electrocardiogram), blood tests, and other tests as needed.
  • Not eating or drinking before surgery as directed. Your surgery may be cancelled if you eat or drink too close to the start of surgery because you can choke on stomach contents during anesthesia.
  • Taking or stopping medications exactly as directed. This often includes not taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and blood thinners before surgery.

Questions to ask your doctor

Facing hormonal therapy can be stressful. It is common for patients to forget some of their questions during a brief doctor’s office visit. You may also think of other questions after your appointment.  Contact your doctor with concerns and questions before hormonal therapy and between appointments.  

It is also a good idea to bring a list of questions to your appointments. Questions can include:

  • Why do I need hormonal therapy? Are there any other options for diagnosing or treating my condition?
  • Will I need medications, radiation therapy, or surgery?
  • How long will radiation therapy or surgery take? When will I go home?
  • What restrictions will I have after radiation therapy or surgery? When can I return to work and other activities?
  • What kind of assistance will I need at home? Will I need a ride home?
  • What side effects might I have with hormonal therapy?
  • What medications will I need before and after radiation therapy or surgery? How should I take my usual medications? 
  • How will you treat my pain and side effects?
  • When should I follow up with you?
  • How should I contact you? Ask for numbers to call during and after regular hours.

What can I expect after hormonal therapy?

Hormonal therapy may cure your condition or reduce your symptoms so you can lead an active, normal life. Hormonal therapy may also reduce the risk of a more serious condition in some cases. For example, hormonal therapy can prevent the spread of prostate cancer to other areas of the body.

Hormonal therapy requires long-term or lifelong follow-up. You will need regular blood tests to measure levels of hormones in your body. Your doctor must also monitor your condition regularly with physical exams and possibly other tests.   

When should I call my doctor?

Contact your doctor for questions and concerns between appointments. It is important to call your doctor if you have any new symptoms, even if they seem minor.