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Understanding Hormone Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer in Southern California


Hormone receptor-positive breast cancer cells have a receptor for the hormone progesterone (PR+), estrogen (ER+), or both on their cell membrane. When exposed to these hormones, the cancer cells grow and divide, forming larger tumors. 

Most breast cancers test positive for estrogen receptors. More than 50 percent are both estrogen and progesterone receptor-positive. However, only about two percent are progesterone receptor-positive alone. Hormone receptor-positive breast cancers are more common in women who have gone through menopause. They also tend to grow more slowly than hormone receptor-negative breast cancers. 

At Dignity Health Southern California hospitals, we deliver advanced cancer care technology with a healing touch — from screening for early detection to personalized treatment options. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer in Southern California, Find a Doctor at one of our hospitals:

Symptoms of Hormone Receptor- & Estrogen Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer

Hormone receptor-positive breast cancer doesn’t have any specific symptoms. Most cancers of this type are noticed during a mammogram, a recommended cancer screening for women

If symptoms are present, they may include:

  • A lump within the breast tissue 
  • Nipple discharge that isn’t breast milk
  • Skin changes on the nipple or other part of the breast
  • Change in appearance, shape, or size of the nipple or breast, such as an inverted nipple
  • Swelling of all or part of the breast

The most effective prevention for hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, or any type of breast cancer, is having an annual screening mammogram. 

Diagnosing Hormone Receptor- & ER-Positive Breast Cancer

Doctors use a tissue biopsy to diagnose hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. This test can also help guide treatment decisions by determining HER2 protein status and the stage and type of cancer. 

Hormone Therapy for Breast Cancer at Dignity Health Southern California

At Dignity Health Southern California hospitals, with locations in Long Beach, Northridge, Downtown LA, Glendale, and San Bernardino, doctors and staff combine aggressive treatment with dignity and compassion to help get you back to your healthy life.

The main treatment for most cases of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer is surgery. Mastectomy removes the entire breast. Lumpectomy removes the cancerous tumor and a small amount of normal tissue surrounding it. You’ll likely have radiation therapy after a lumpectomy to kill any remaining cancer cells. 

Other treatments include:

  • Hormone therapy, which either lowers the levels of hormones in the body or prevents cancer cells from growing in response to hormones  
  • Targeted therapy, which identifies and destroys cells that have specific markers or proteins on them such as hormone receptors
  • Chemotherapy, medications that stop cancer cells from growing or kill them   

Dignity Health offers screening and treatment for hormone receptor-positive breast cancer in Southern California.