HER2 Breast Cancer

 

From Dr. Timothy Moynihan of mayoclinic.org:

“HER2-positive breast cancer is a breast cancer that tests positive for a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), which promotes the growth of cancer cells. In about 1 of every 5 breast cancers, the cancer cells have a gene mutation that makes an excess of the HER2 protein. HER2-positive breast cancers tend to be more aggressive than other types of breast cancer. They’re less likely to be sensitive to hormone therapy, though many people with HER2-positive breast cancer can still benefit from hormone therapy.”

Basically, HER2 positive breast cancer is breast cancer directed by a bully. The bully protein, HER2, taunts the cancer cells into continuously growing. Thus, the cancer cells are more prone to expanding quickly and traveling throughout the body. Fortunately, in the last 18 years, two drugs have made the prognosis of HER2 much more positive.

 

My Story:

My official diagnosis was stage 3A, grade 2, HER2 positive, breast cancer. I was diagnosed February 5, 2016. My treatment regimen consisted of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. I am currently in the hope-it-doesn’t-come-back phase. My regimen included two chemotherapy drugs, carboplatin (Paraplatin) and docetaxel (Taxotere), and two drugs that specifically target the HER2, trastuzumab (Herceptin) and pertuzumab (Perjeta). I also received a device after treatment to try to boost my blood levels. I began chemo on February 18th. My final chemo treatment was June 3rd. After chemo, to be sure we got all of the cancer, I had a mastectomy.  I had an expander implanted at that time. I also had radiation for five and a half weeks.

Trastuzumab is prescribed for a full year. I will complete that targeted therapy on January 20, 2016. I will be finishing reconstruction at some point in 2017.

Check out the category of cancer two for more of my experiences.

Links I Like:

A good overview with statistics:

http://www.healthline.com/health/breast-cancer/her2-positive-survival-rates-statistics

Paper about the breakthroughs in treating HER2:

http://www.gotoper.com/publications/ajho/2015/2015apr/her2-positive-breast-cancer-update-on-new-and-emerging-agents

Two articles about the targeted therapies for treating HER2:

http://www.oncologynurseadvisor.com/web-exclusives/pertuzumab-adds-survival-benefit-for-her2-positive-breast-cancer/article/377840/

http://www.oncologynurseadvisor.com/web-exclusives/trastuzumab-improves-long-term-survival-of-her2-positive-breast-cancer-patients/article/391887/

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