Question About Levels/Results


I am due to have an appointment next week to discuss which hormone herapy will be recommended.  I had to have a blood test to check if I actually post menopausal, because the oncologist will recommend a different option if I am still in the menopause.

In a letter I have received, my results are given, and I wondered if someone could just give me an outline of what they mean before I go - just so I understand before I get there.

It says ER8 and PR5.  I understand the oestrogen/progesterone part, but wonder what significance the numbers have - how high is high?  Will that have a bearing on what is recommended to me?

If you have any other thoughts about what I need to know before I go - please share them with me.  I haven’t yet even really started to think about this part of treatment, as I have concentrated on what each day has brought (!), but as this appointment is creeping up on me I thought I should start to get prepared!

Many thanks.



I dont know the significance of the number but would think that means you are ER+ and PR-.  There are two types of hormone treatment, one for those ladies who are pre menopausal which is usually Tamoxifen and post menopausal of which one of them is Letrozole.


One thing to ask is that you have a bone density test, this is known as a DEXA scan, it is just an xray of your hips and spine so that they have a benchmark for your bone denisty and I think it is usually recommended that when on hormone tablets that this is repeated every 2/3 years so that they can monitor it.  It is not at all painful takes about 10 minutes in all.  I know when I had mine I discovered that I had osteoporosis, being menopausal I was gong to be on letrozole but because of this and my onc not wanting to make it any worse I am on tamoxifen.  I also take a combined Vit D/calcium tablet twice a day.  I had a scan last July and it is maintaining my bone density levels as they were and in fact a little improved so that is great.


Helena xxx

Hello Angie,

Hormone receptor tests are usually scored using the Allred, (named after person who devised it), Scoring system based on the percentage of cells testing positive for the hormone receptor (scale of 0 to 5) alongwith the intensity (scale of 0 to 3).  The sample is scored based on the combination of these factors.  Scores range from 0 to 8. The higher the score,  the more receptors were found, the more responsive the tumour is to hormones. 


Angie,  you are like me, double hormone positive and ER8.  As I was ER 8, and alongwith other individual considerations,  I thought I would  give the anti hormone treatment a chance.  I was post menopausal, and Anastrazole was recommended which I have continued with. 


Aromatase Inhibitors like Anastrazole, (which acts on Aromatase to inhibit oestrogen production)  or Tamoxifen (which prevents the body making use of circulating oestrogen) can be used by women post menopause (whether natural or induced) . For example,  Tamoxifen may be offered if the cancer is judged to be low risk recurrence,  or if Inhibitors can not be tolerated etc.  Women who are pre/peri  menopausal are usually offered tamoxifen  or be offered Inhibitors and medication to induce menopause (I. E.  To stop/reduce ovarian hormone production).


You sound like you have been trying to deal with things one stage at a time and that is a good thing as far as I am concerned.  It’s good to be prepared for an appointment but I hope you don’t overload yourself.  Just see what they are recommending and ask them to explain why. You could also ask them to explain what they think  your individual risks and benefits are of any treatment.  It is not just about what NHS predict says.  NHS Predict is not a definitive individualised tool. 


Best wishes for your appointment,  

Chick ? x



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