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Treatment

 
Treatment

Chapter: 6 - Treatment

Subchapter: 10 - Targeted Therapy

In addition to systemic chemotherapy and hormone therapy, there are newer, more effective treatments that can attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells. Currently, these targeted methods are commonly used in combination with traditional chemotherapy. However, targeted drugs often have less severe side effects than standard chemotherapy drugs.

Monoclonal Antibodies
One type of targeted therapy currently being studied is monoclonal antibodies. These laboratory-manufactured proteins bind with certain cancers.

Herceptin or Trastuzumab
Monoclonal antibody drugs such as Herceptin (also known as trastuzumab) and Lapatinib target HER2-positive tumors. If cancer cells are positive for the HER2/neu receptors, that means there is an overabundance of receptors on the cancer cell for the growth-stimulating HER2 protein.

The tumor acts almost like a magnet for growth hormones, and when the tumor cells connect with growth hormone cells, the cancer can quickly grow and multiply. Herceptin helps shrink these HER2-positive tumors by finding the cells, binding with them, and blocking the action of the receptor.

Bevacizumab
Another targeted therapy, Bevacizumab, prevents tumors from making new blood vessels that could feed the tumor, essentially cutting off the cancer cells from all nutrients.

As with all medical treatments, if you experience unusual changes in your health during targeted therapy, notify your doctor immediately.

Related Questions

  • Lydia Bujanda Profile

    I was dx with dcis and opted for unilateral mastectomy. Final path report showed a small .4mm invasive tumor that had spread to breast and was triple negative. Now my onc wants to do chemo, isn't this too aggressive since I did have mastectomy?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      So true Blair. I'm also triple negative. Did chemo then surgery and soon I'll begin rad therapy. Goal is to make sure there isn't even one of those horrible cells. Jayme

      Comment
    • Mary Foti Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      Your oncologist is not being aggressive -- he/she is being thorough. There is no follow up treatment after surgery, radiation and chemo if you have triple negative breast cancer. Medications like tamoxifen and Arimidex and herceptin don't affect triple negative; therefore your oncologist is wise...

      more

      Your oncologist is not being aggressive -- he/she is being thorough. There is no follow up treatment after surgery, radiation and chemo if you have triple negative breast cancer. Medications like tamoxifen and Arimidex and herceptin don't affect triple negative; therefore your oncologist is wise to suggest chemo because there is a very small chance the cancer may have already spread beyond the breast and the chemo should work to kill any of those before they get a chance to set up shop somewhere else in your body. A mastectomy is a wise move also, but it can't always prevent a recurrence by itself.

      Comment
  • Robert Reyes Profile
  • Thumb avatar default

    What does 1.5 cm mean?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 1 answer
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      When measuring tumors, physicians measure in centimeters. (meters instead of inches)
      1.5 centimeters = 0.590551181 inches (a little over 1/2 inch) You can "google" conversion tables cm. into inches.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Does anyone have advice? I'm starting 12 weeks of taxol/herceptin weekly. Then nine months of herceptin every 3 weeks. I'm scared as heck.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Isabel Souchet Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      I was very scared also. I did 5 treatments of taxotere,carboplatin n herceptin n then 9months of herceptin. For me,the chemo kicked my butt, I didn't do well. But it was over before I knew and now I am totally fine. You will get through it, try to stay hydrated before n after your treatments....

      more

      I was very scared also. I did 5 treatments of taxotere,carboplatin n herceptin n then 9months of herceptin. For me,the chemo kicked my butt, I didn't do well. But it was over before I knew and now I am totally fine. You will get through it, try to stay hydrated before n after your treatments. Make sure you let your oncologist know of any side effects. There's many drugs to alleviate bothersome symptoms.

      1 comment
    • Patricia Stoop Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I've had over a year of treatment so far and only 3 Herceptin left. I started scared too!!! Walking, yoga and especially meditation have been invaluable. Having a support network, asking for help when you need it, praying to whomever you believe in, cuddling pets, Netflix movies, audiobooks all...

      more

      I've had over a year of treatment so far and only 3 Herceptin left. I started scared too!!! Walking, yoga and especially meditation have been invaluable. Having a support network, asking for help when you need it, praying to whomever you believe in, cuddling pets, Netflix movies, audiobooks all help. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and your medical team will help you through any issues. Her2 is now an ok one to have - at least we have Herceptin and a bunch if new treatments in studies now too.

      1 comment

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