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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

  • Mary Webb Profile

    Is a large mass the same as a tumor?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years Answer
  • Heidi Hathaway Profile

    Did anyone else out there start tamoxifen while still on herceptin therapy? Is tamoxifen always started in pill form?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Susan Coffey Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Hi. I'm on herceptin every 21 days and administered by IV and I'm also on tomoxofin, everyday by pill form. Will be like that forever. No real side effects from either of them.

      Comment
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I don't know about Herceptin. To my knowledge tamoxifen is given as a pill.

      Comment
  • Sue Rice Profile

    Stage 4 HER2+ ER+ --> Treatment is taking forever. Others finish, but I keep going. Do any others feel lonely, frustrated and depressed while watching others finish? I'm stable, but only if I continue treatment.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 4 Patient
    about 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Donna Ginnings Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2001

      Sue, I'm stage 4 and have been since 2007. I was able to stop treatment for 3 years because of no sign of disease after first year of treatment. A miracle from God for sure. Currently I have been on chemo since July 2010. I just look at it as a small inconvenience and enjoy every day God gives...

      more

      Sue, I'm stage 4 and have been since 2007. I was able to stop treatment for 3 years because of no sign of disease after first year of treatment. A miracle from God for sure. Currently I have been on chemo since July 2010. I just look at it as a small inconvenience and enjoy every day God gives me with my daughters. Trust in the Lord, he will see you through. So many good treatment options out there that let you carry on a normal life. God never promised us life would be easy, but he did promise nerver to leave us or forsake us. may God bless you!

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Sue, I sure can understand how it could be very depressing to watch the other types of breast cancer women walk out the door. Your oncologist's office probably has some recommendations for support groups in your area where you could meet a pal who is dealing with the same issues you are having. ...

      more

      Sue, I sure can understand how it could be very depressing to watch the other types of breast cancer women walk out the door. Your oncologist's office probably has some recommendations for support groups in your area where you could meet a pal who is dealing with the same issues you are having. When I was going through treatment, there was a young woman on the other side of the states who was a horse-gal, just like me. We had a great time emailing each other even though she was young enough to be my daughter. It was so welcome to find somebody else who was in the "same leaky boat" as I was. It made the treatment time much easier to take. You just need a "chemo-pal." This has become a way-too-common disease to there are lots of us out there. I would try to find a support group and maybe one person who you just click with. . Be sure and talk to your doctor and Onco. nurses about how you are feeling. Ask them if they can point you in the direction of a support group. You sound like a very social person and needs some buddies. Take care and big healing hugs. Sharon

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Her2 Er - pr-, what is the new procedures and new treatment?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 1 answer
    • Margaret Balsamo Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      There are quite a few factors that will determine your treatment. Your oncologist will discuss all of the options with you.

      Comment

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