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HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

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Questions for Your Doctor

  • How are you sure my cancer is HER2-positive?
  • Where exactly is my cancer?
  • What stage is it?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What treatment do you think will work best for me?
  • How quickly do I need to start treatment?
  • How will treatment make me feel?
  • Is there a clinical trial that I should consider?
  • Will I be able to work?
  • Do I need to have my breast removed?
  • Do I need radiation?
  • Do I need chemotherapy?
  • Do I need hormone treatment?
  • Will my insurance cover my treatment?
  • What if my cancer doesn’t respond to treatment?

Treatment

Breast cancers aren't all 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 drugs for 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. The people in your life will want to help, so let them know what you would like.
  • 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. Work with your doctor and health care team to set up the best treatment program for you.

Breast cancer of any kind is easier to treat when it’s diagnosed early. But even if your breast cancer has spread or has come back, there are still ways to treat it.

You and your doctor can also talk about whether joining a clinical trial would be right for you. It could give you access to newer treatments.

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