Resource for Women who are HER2 positive
I recently learned of a great resource for women whose breast cancer is HER2 positive. Approximately 20-25% of all breast cancers fit this description.
HER2 stands for Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2. HER2 is a gene that helps control how cells grow, divide, and repair themselves. Some breast cancer cells overexpress this growth factor, and those cells have long been known to be particularly aggressive cancers. Herceptin ( or trastuzumab), a drug manufactured by Genentech, has been approved as a treatment for metastatic breast cancer since 1998. In November 2006, the FDA approved its use in adjuvant treatment for women whose tumors overexpress HERz. Per the FDA website: The approval is based on evidence of a significant prolongation in disease-free survival in women receiving trastuzumab and chemotherapy compared to those receiving chemotherapy alone.
And here is a great story about the presentation of those clinical trial results at the ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology) annual meetings in May 2005. As you would guess, this is a very large scientific meeting, not generally known for spontaneous outbursts of passion and enthusiasm. When the results of the herception trials were presented, there was a standing ovation. Thousands of attending oncologists and scientists rose to their feet and applauded at this remarkable treatment advance.
That was all a bit of background before sharing this resource: www.HER2support.org This website has a lot of information that will be useful to women with this kind of breast cancer.