Breast Cancer & Chemo – Update

Ok y’all… here’s the low down on whats gonna happen …. the video explains a lot but here’s a more in-depth explanation of the type of issues I have and WHY I am having to have CHEMO and what the meds they will be using are.

Are you ready for tons of info???

A port or Portacath is a small medical appliance that is installed beneath the skin. A catheter connects the port to a vein. Under the skin, the port has a septum through which drugs can be injected and blood samples can be drawn many times, usually with less discomfort for the patient than a more typical “needle stick”. The port is usually inserted in the upper chest (known as a “chest port”), just below the clavicle or collar bone, leaving the patient’s hands free.

HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) is one such gene that can play a role in the development of breast cancer.

Genes contain the recipes for the various proteins a cell needs to stay healthy and function normally. Some genes and the proteins they make can influence how a breast cancer behaves and how it might respond to a specific treatment. Cancer cells from a tissue sample can be tested to see which genes are normal and abnormal. The proteins they make can also be tested.

The HER2 gene makes HER2 proteins. HER2 proteins are receptors on breast cells. Normally, HER2 receptors help control how a healthy breast cell grows, divides, and repairs itself. But in about 25% of breast cancers, the HER2 gene doesn’t work correctly and makes too many copies of itself (known as HER2 gene amplification). All these extra HER2 genes tell breast cells to make too many HER2 receptors (HER2 protein overexpression). This makes breast cells grow and divide in an uncontrolled way.

Breast cancers with HER2 gene amplification or HER2 protein overexpression are called HER2-positive (which is what I have) in the pathology report. HER2-positive breast cancers tend to grow faster and are more likely to spread and come back compared to HER2-negative breast cancers. But there are medicines specifically for HER2-positive breast cancers.

The only way to “fix” or “cure” Her2 is by taking Herceptin. Herceptin can be an effective treatment both before and after surgery for people with HER2-positive breast cancer. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence after initial surgery.

Herceptin works by attaching itself to the HER2 receptors on the surface of breast cancer cells and blocking them from receiving growth signals. By blocking the signals, Herceptin can slow or stop the growth of the breast cancer. Herceptin is an example of an immune targeted therapy. In addition to blocking HER2 receptors, Herceptin can also help fight breast cancer by alerting the immune system to destroy cancer cells onto which it is attached.

I will be taking Herceptin for a whole year through the PORT every 3 weeks. It will be included with the Chemo drugs Taxotere and Carboplatin.

TAXOTERE is used to treat breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, and head/neck cancer. This medication is very strong and comes with a long list of precautions. So PLEASE dont feel like I don’t want to be around you or anything, but here is a list of why I have to isolate myself for the first week of each round!

  • Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.
  • Avoid activities that may increase your risk of bleeding or injury. Use extra care to prevent bleeding while shaving or brushing your teeth.
  • Taxotere contains alcohol and may cause a drunken feeling when the medicine is injected into your vein. Avoid drinking alcohol on the day of your injection.
  • This medicine may impair your thinking or reactions for 1 to 2 hours after injection. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.
  • This medicine can pass into body fluids (including urine, feces, vomit, semen, vaginal fluid). For at least 48 hours after you receive a dose, avoid allowing your body fluids to come into contact with your hands or other surfaces. Patients and caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.

CARBOPLATIN is an antineoplastic. It works by disrupting the cell growth of cancer cells, which helps you fight cancer. Carboplatin is used to treat various types of cancer. It is a chemotherapy drug that contains platinum. It is used alone or in combination with other medications to slow or stop cancer cell growth.

So These are the meds I’ll be taking every 3 weeks starting June 2nd 2015 and will be 6 rounds so 18 weeks I’ll be in CHEMO MODE. I have to be VERY careful whom I’m around and where I go and what I do. I will have to isolate myself for the 1st week which I will be at my weakest then after week 2 and 3 I will start to get stronger again. SO, just to let y’all know I’m not avoiding you or trying to be mean, but the 1st week of each round I can’t have visitors or leave my house as a precaution. I want to be sure to not chance anything!

After the main chemo treatments I will continue the Herceptin for another 6 months and that one is basically a hormone blocker to keep my estrogen and progesterone from building any more cancerous cells until I can get my hysterectomy done. My lady parts are trying to kill me apparantly. I guess I make too much hormones  and it feeds cancer cells. 😦

So there ya go! If you have any questions and I haven’t already covered it, google it… that is what I did! 🙂

Love you guys for all your support and prayers! it is really helping me through this horrible time and it’s helping me stay positive even when somedays I’m not.

MUAH!

love, Jen

 

 

 

 

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