Monday, September 7, 2009

Further Biopsy Results

Friday morning the rest of the results from my biopsies were done, and I had them faxed to me at work.  I am ER+/PR- HER2/neu +.

Yay me!  It's relatively rare! In fact, each time I use those search terms, google asks "Did you mean to search for ER+ PR+ HER2/neu+?"

I always knew I was different.

In case you aren't up on your cancer terminology, ER means estrogen receptors.  PR is, you guessed it, progesterone receptors.  The pluses or minuses means the cancer grows in response to those hormones. 

Naturally, I had a quick consult with Doctor Google.   Pluses after the ER/PR  are an excellent sign because all you have to do is block these hormones and the cancer doesn't grow.   ER+ cancers responds to tamoxifen, an estrogen blocking drug.  Unfortunately, in combination with PR-, it's not so good.  I have only a 33 chance of that drug working to fight off cancer.  I think they give you something called an aromatase inhibitor instead of tamoxifen or in conjunction with it.

The HER2/neu + is not so good.  I won't give the technical explanation, which has to do with an overexpression of proteins in a specific gene.  It does mean I have a more aggressive form of cancer with a higher likelihood of it returning.  But, they apparently have a new miracle drug that combats HER2+ cancers now called herceptin.

Also, with the ER+, PR-, HER2/neu + cancers, they like to remove or at least stop the ovaries from functioning, (they kindly call that an ovarian ablation) which means I could have it done surgically or with medication.

Whatever it means, it's a lot better than the dreaded "triple negative" which has a poorer prognosis than any of the others.

Now, I'll get more information when I get my 2nd opinion from a live doctor. 
I am still waiting for the MRI to be set up - should hear soon.  And, my appointment with the oncologist is the 14th.

Fun times!

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