Her2Neu Questions and Answers
The identification of the Her2neu gene and, some years later, the discovery of herceptin and its immense value in treating these breast cancers have been a major step in breast cancer medicine. The National Breast Cancer Coalition (www.stopbreastcancer.org) has an excellent fact sheet about her2neu (and others about many other important issues.
Here is the introduction from that piece and the link if you want to read more. Whether or not this applies to you, I encourage you to read it.
HER-2/neu: Questions and Answers
What is a cell?>
Cells are tiny spheres that make up all of the organs and tissues in your body. Cells also make up cancerous tumors. Cells are too small to see with your eyes.
What is HER-2/neu?
HER-2/neu (also known as HER-2) is a protein that is found on the surface of breast cells. It sends messages to the cell from 'growth factors' outside the cell. Growth factors tell cells to grow and divide.
What does it mean to be HER-2/neu positive?
Everyone has the HER-2/neu protein. But in some breast cancers, the cells produce many more HER-2/neu proteins than normal. These breast cancers are called 'HER-2/neu positive cancers.' Breast cancers that have very few HER-2/neu proteins, or none at all, are called 'HER-2/neu negative cancers.' It is sometimes unclear whether women with low levels of HER-2/neu are actually Her-2/neu positive or negative. HER-2/neu positive breast cancers grow faster than HER-2/neu negative breast cancers.