confusing

Nothing is ever simple with me!

My treatment plan is still not set. Well, radiation is set, just not the medical side.

My medical oncologist says my situation based on test/biopsy results is confusing. The biopsy of the tumour showed I am hormone positive and HER2* negative. Back in 2006 my cancer was hormone positive and HER2 positive. The hiccup is the HER2 status, there are two totally divergent treatment plans depending on positive/negative. Both will include hormone therapy (pills), but HER2 positive will mean chemo. The reasons to question the HER2 result is twofold: (1) the solution the brain tumour was placed in could affect the result, or (2) the tissue tested was necrotic (dead).

Dr. Bernstein is hoping a biopsy of the lung tumour will solidify the HER2 status. Biopsy to be scheduled. Serious déjà vu here: had three biopsies back in 2006 to determine HER2 status then.

She says we should wait three months after treatment starts to find out how I’m responding before thinking about prognosis. Speaking of three months – I’ll be scanned regularly the rest of my life to see how I’m responding to treatment(s). Changes to treatment options are possible depending on results. She told me she’s had people with this cancer and metastases live for a couple years, even three; and others that haven’t done so well – it’s truly hard to say right now. But it’s a spark of hope, right?

* from cancer.ca

HER2 is the more common name for the gene called ERBB2. HER2 (or HER2/neu) stands for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2. The job of HER2 is to control a protein on the surface of cells that helps them grow. If the HER2 gene changes, it may help a tumour grow.

Healthy cells have 2 copies of the HER2 gene. When there are too many copies of the HER2 gene in a cell, this leads to too much HER2 protein being made. Having too many copies of the gene is called amplification, and having too much HER2 protein being made is called overexpression of HER2.

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