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How does having HER2-positive breast cancer affect the kind of treatment you get?

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Treatment for breast cancer depends in part on stage and type and is different in each case, but typically involves some combination of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or other drug therapies. These other drug therapies depend partly on whether your cancer is HER2-positive. If it is, certain medications can work well, such as:

Monoclonal antibodies. These are lab-made versions of immune system substances designed to attach to HER2 protein on breast cancer cells.

Antibody-drug conjugates. These drugs target chemotherapy directly to HER2 protein on cancer cells.

Kinase inhibitors. These medications stop proteins like HER2 from sending signals.

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "Targeted Therapy for Breast Cancer," "Treatment of Breast Cancer by Stage," "Breast Cancer Grades," "Survival Rates for Breast Cancer," "Breast Cancer HER2 Status."

American Joint Committee on Cancer: "Physician to Physician AJCC 8th Edition Breast."

American Society of Clinical Oncology: "Breast Cancer - Metastatic: Statistics."

Breastcancer.org: "HER2 Status," "Breast Cancer Stages."

Mayo Clinic: "HER2-positive breast cancer: What is it?"

University of Rochester Medical Center: "Breast Cancer: Grades and Stages."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on May 26, 2020

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "Targeted Therapy for Breast Cancer," "Treatment of Breast Cancer by Stage," "Breast Cancer Grades," "Survival Rates for Breast Cancer," "Breast Cancer HER2 Status."

American Joint Committee on Cancer: "Physician to Physician AJCC 8th Edition Breast."

American Society of Clinical Oncology: "Breast Cancer - Metastatic: Statistics."

Breastcancer.org: "HER2 Status," "Breast Cancer Stages."

Mayo Clinic: "HER2-positive breast cancer: What is it?"

University of Rochester Medical Center: "Breast Cancer: Grades and Stages."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on May 26, 2020

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What does a positive FISH test for HER2 breast cancer mean?

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