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Estrogen receptor results - is this high? Are receptors found all over the body or just breasts


Re: Estrogen receptor results - is this high? Are receptors found all over the body or just breasts

Hello SuzyK

Thanks for your post. It’s good to hear that you find our site helpful.

Aromatase inhibitors are a type of hormone therapy drug used to treat breast cancer in women who have gone through a natural menopause (when periods stop). It can also be used in premenopausal women having ovarian suppression (treatment to stop the ovaries working). If you are post- menopausal you are likely to be offered an aromatase inhibitor as studies have shown that it works slightly better in this group than tamoxifen.

Pathology results often give a score to show the amount of hormone receptors on the cancer cell and the proportion of cancer cells with receptors. The most likely scores you’ll see in the results are the Quick or Allred score (between 0 and 😎 the higher the scores, the more ER+ or PR+ the breast cancer is.

Breast cells contain special proteins called hormone receptors. These receptors ‘receive’ messages from hormones in the body and respond by telling the cells what to do.

The hormone receptors found in breast cells are known as oestrogen receptors and progesterone receptors. Oestrogen receptors are both in the body and the breast area and hormone therapy goes all around the body blocking their action.

You may want to talk to your treatment team about your questions around recurrence as they will have access to your notes. They will also be able to support you with information about which hormone therapy might be best for you.

We offer a range of free supportive services that you might be interested in. For more details about all of these services, please see the information on the link.

Do call our Helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks. The number is 0808 800 6000, (Relay UK -prefix 18001).

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Best wishes


Breast Care Nurse

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Estrogen receptor results - is this high? Are receptors found all over the body or just breasts


Thank you so much for this site it is very helpful.

My path results were ER positive 6, PR positive 4, Her 2 negative.

As I understand it high results mean a greater necessity to take Aromatose Inhibitors or Tamoxifen. I'm not sure if my results are considered high or not.

Secondly, are there estrogen receptor sites all over the body that need to be blocked or is the hormone therapy just to protect a recurrence of breast cancer in the breasts. 

I had a breast lump removed 13 years ago but it was not cancerous, just atypical changes. I have just read that there can be years before recurrence of breast cancer (particularly E+)  so wonder if my cancer last October was a recurrence. And that I am therefore more at risk of further recurrences. It was an invasive DC this time.

I started on Tamoxifen (at my request as I didn't want joint pains) but it made me severely depressed. So I have to decide what to take now if anything. I hope all this makes sense.