Dr. Joseph M. Perlman Advanced Plastic Surgery Centre

Testosterone for Breast Cancer

Most people think of testosterone therapy as a means of improving libido and sex drive, but it’s effective for far more than that. If you’re a breast cancer survivor or experiencing severe menopausal symptoms as a result of traditional cancer treatments, testosterone therapy can help ease the pain and the hormone has protective properties against breast cancer.

Testosterone & Anastrozole Therapy

Each woman requires a certain amount of testosterone for mental and physical health and that level is different for everyone. The most popular and convenient form of hormone replacement therapy is through the insertion of a small pellet of testosterone beneath the surface of the skin at 3-6 month intervals.

Multiple studies have demonstrated the efficacy of testosterone alone and when combined with anastrozole for its protective properties in breast cancer survivors. A combination of testosterone and anastrozole works by replacing lost testosterone and inhibiting aromatase, an enzyme that changes other hormones into estrogen that can contribute to estrogen-positive breast cancer.

It doesn’t stop estrogen production – it simply lowers levels.

Women showed a significant reduction in the severity of physical and psychological symptoms associated with menopause resulting from common breast cancer treatments. In a comprehensive study, no recurrence of the disease was found in participating women during eight years of monitoring following treatment with testosterone combined with anastrozole.

Bioidentical Testosterone Hormone

If you receive replacement therapy, it will be with testosterone formulated from plant sources that contain no steroids. The process to insert the testosterone pellet can be completed in as little as two minutes and there’s no downtime associated with the procedure.

The testosterone dose you receive will be determined by your medical specialist after your existing levels have been carefully measured. Throughout your entire course of treatment, your testosterone levels will be carefully monitored and adjusted if necessary to ensure you always receive the optimal dosage for your individual needs.

Testosterone is used to lower the risk of breast cancer if you’re a post-menopausal woman and it’s been effective in reducing the size of existing breast cancer tumors. Estrogen has been associated with the development of breast cancer, along with breast pain, chronic mastitis, endometriosis, fibroid tumors, and the development of cystic breast tissue in post-menopausal women.

As a woman, you’re testosterone levels aren’t very high, but they have a profound impact on your health. The body maintains a delicate balance of hormones. Any decrease will definitely have an impact on your brain and body functions. Since testosterone is available in such small amounts, any deficiency will be noticed to varying degrees.

Testosterone & Menopause

Menopause takes place when hormone levels sufficiently decline. The ovaries no longer produce eggs each month and menstruation stops. While many women typically go through menopause around the age of 50, those who have survived breast cancer may experience more severe symptoms, and the therapies used to eradicate breast cancer can result in early onset of menopause.

Breast cancer treatments also have the ability to slow or stop ovary function, which can temporarily or permanently make you experience all the symptoms of menopause. If menopause has already started for you, cancer treatments can significantly intensify the symptoms and they can appear abruptly with little or no warning. Testosterone therapy can help mitigate the effects of menopause symptoms and it has protective properties.

Testosterone Deficiency Symptoms

Mentally, most women are prepared for the symptoms of menopause. When the actual physical symptoms appear, they’re often surprised at the intensity and they’re not fully cognizant of how menopause will disrupt their lives. A comprehensive array of symptoms may occur that can include:

  • Irregular or painful menstrual cycles
  • Hot flashes
  • Sweating
  • Mood swings
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Low sex drive
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Painful sex and vaginal itching
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Headaches
  • Racing heart
  • Slow metabolism and weight gain
  • Dry skin and thinning hair

Health Benefits of Testosterone

Known as the “female hormone,” estrogen is essential for female development, characteristics, and regulating the reproductive system. Your body also produces testosterone, though in lesser quantities than men. Testosterone is essential for a variety of functions and levels begin to decline after the age of 20. The abrupt cessation or reduction of that hormone as a result of breast cancer treatments can accelerate the symptoms of menopause.

Low testosterone levels are often mistaken for other conditions and some women endure symptoms for years before being correctly diagnosed with a testosterone deficiency. Your body requires testosterone to maintain muscle mass, energy levels, and cognitive function. Stabilizing your testosterone levels can minimize mood swings, works to protect your heart, and address osteoarthritis that’s common when you’re post-menopausal or have had breast cancer.


Testosterone replacement therapy offers protective properties against breast cancer and is particularly beneficial if you’re a breast cancer survivor. The treatment is an equally effective means to alleviate a wide range of menopausal symptoms you may experience arising from multiple causes. You don’t have to suffer from hot flashes, low energy levels, and cognitive difficulties associated with menopause. Testosterone therapy can help protect you from recurrent breast cancer and significantly improve your quality of life.

Frequently Asked Question

Why might a breast cancer survivor consider testosterone therapy?

Breast cancer survivors may consider testosterone therapy to manage symptoms such as low libido, fatigue, and reduced muscle mass that can occur due to hormonal changes post-treatment. Testosterone can potentially improve quality of life by addressing these issues.

Who is a good candidate for testosterone therapy after breast cancer?

Good candidates typically include breast cancer survivors who have completed treatment and are experiencing symptoms of low testosterone, such as decreased libido or fatigue, that significantly impact their quality of life. Candidates should be carefully evaluated by healthcare professionals familiar with both breast cancer treatment and hormone therapy.

What are the potential risks and side effects of testosterone therapy for breast cancer survivors?

Potential risks and side effects can include:

  • Increased risk of hormone-sensitive breast cancer recurrence (though the evidence is not conclusive).
  • Virilization (development of male characteristics) in women, which may include deepening of voice, increased facial hair growth, and acne.
  • Cardiovascular risks such as increased blood pressure or cholesterol levels.
  • Mood changes, aggression, or irritability.
What are some alternative options to manage symptoms after breast cancer treatment?

Alternatives may include:

  • Lifestyle changes: Exercise, nutrition, and stress management can help manage fatigue and improve overall well-being.
  • Non-hormonal therapies: Psychological counseling, physical therapy, or medications for symptom management.
  • Hormonal therapies other than testosterone: Depending on the symptoms, other hormone therapies may be considered if deemed safe and appropriate by healthcare providers.
What is the most important thing to remember about testosterone therapy for breast cancer survivors?

The most important thing is to ensure thorough consultation with a healthcare provider who specializes in breast cancer survivorship and hormone therapy. Each individual’s situation is unique, and decisions about hormone therapy should be based on careful consideration of potential benefits, risks, and the individual’s overall health status.