When a breast biopsy shows that cancer is present, other tests are
used to find out which treatment will work the best.
Estrogen and progesterone receptor (ER/PR) tests identify whether
hormones affect the way the cancer grows. The hormones estrogen and
progesterone stimulate the growth of normal breast cells and some
breast cancers. Breast cancer cells that lack these
receptors (ER-negative and PR-negative cancers) are much less likely to respond
to treatment with such medicines as tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors.
ER/PR-positive tumors have these receptors and are more likely to respond to
treatment with tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors.
For many women, the diagnosis of breast cancer represents not only a major
physical battle, but also the ultimate emotional challenge -- one that affects
every relationship in our life.
Indeed, from friendships to romance, from being a parent to being a
daughter, the way you relate to everyone -- and the way they relate to you --
can be affected.
"I do think cancer has more impact on emotions and emotional
relationships than other catastrophic diseases, because with cancer, death is