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Breast Cancer Health Center

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HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

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Breast cancers aren't all treated the same. It's important to find out if yours is HER2-positive, because it makes a difference in how you treat it.

HER2-positive cancer doesn't respond well to the hormone treatments that work for other forms of breast cancer. But there are medicines that do help treat it. They’re called targeted treatments, because they kill the cells that make the HER2 protein. That stops or blocks the protein from helping cancer cells grow. This greatly lowers the chances that your cancer will come back.

Taking Care of Yourself

Having breast cancer can be overwhelming. Remember, though: You're in control of your treatment decisions and how you live your life.

These tips can help you stay healthy while you get treatment:

  • Get the support you need, whether it's information about breast cancer, talking with someone, or practical help with daily tasks. It can all make a huge difference in how you feel. Listen to your body. Exercise can help you feel better, but only when you're up for it.
  • If you don’t have much appetite, try eating smaller meals every few hours, rather than big meals.

What to Expect

Many women respond very well to targeted treatments. Breast cancer of any kind is easier to treat when it’s diagnosed early. If your cancer spreads or has comes back, there are still ways to treat it.

Talk with your doctor about whether joining a clinical trial would be right for you. It could give you access to newer treatments.

Get Support

The American Cancer Society is a good starting place to find the support you and your family may need throughout your treatment and afterward.

You may want to join a support group. That’s a good way to meet people who know what you're going through, because they’ve been through it, too.

Let your family and friends know what you're going through. Tell them what they can do to help you. They may want to help but don’t know what to do.

Also, consider talking with a counselor. That could help you handle the emotions that can come with having cancer.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on July 22, 2015
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