• I am currently being treated for breast cancer that has spread to my bones. Am currently receiving Zometa, Faslodex, and Herceptin treatment

    Asked by momongo on Friday, July 13, 2012

    I am currently being treated for breast cancer that has spread to my bones. Am currently receiving Zometa, Faslodex, and Herceptin treatment

    Hercptin and Zometa every 3 weeks , Faslodex every 4 weeks. My oncologist that just retired(actually went on to something else) told me the herceptin would zap it into remission. didn't tell how long, I found out online, that being her2 positive meant the cancer was more aggressive and people were being treated for more than a year. Met new oncologist the other day. When telling her what my other Dr said(possibly a year, then re-evaluate) she says to me, Oh no! You will be on some sort of treatment for life! Thinking about a second opinion, as now I'[m confused and scared!

    3 Answers from the Community

    • RuthAnne's Avatar

      I'm sorry about your diagnosis and that you have to switch oncologists midstream. I also had metastasis to the bone and was told that I would be on treatment for life, or at least until it stops working. This can be really tough to come to terms with.

      That being said, I believe that one of the most important relationships you have right now is with your oncologist. If you are not comfortable with this person, do seek a second opinion.

      Also, be very wary of what you read on the internet. Make sure that they are from a reliable source (such as Mayo) and that they are dated very recently. Cancer treatment technology changes very rapidly, so much so that articles as old as a couple of years can be pretty out of date. One good source is cancergrace.org - an online community of patients & oncologists. There's quite a bit there about treatment.

      Hang tough. You're not alone.

      about 9 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      HER2 is a protein that when defective (i.e HER+) causes breast cells to divide and multiply uncontrollably. Herceptin targets the HER2 receptor in those cells blocking the ability of HER2 to bind with new cells. This typically results in slowing cancer growth or decreasing the risk of recurrence in adjuvant therapy for those already in remission.

      The standard protocol for herceptin is one year, but there are some new studies underway to determine if that should be more or less. Since herceptin is an antibody, resistance to its effects are expected to decline over time and generally the risk of heart damage increases over time.

      In most cases, metastatic cancers are considered treatable but not curable. Hence, treatment becomes ongoing.

      In order to get another opinion, you may need to have something a little more substantial to go on. Getting additional medical opinions is for the purpose of getting additional input on medical procedures or treatment plans, not comparison shopping for doctors. So unless your new oncologist has already developed and provided a treatment plan for you, there really isn't anything to get a second opinion on. However, if you have a written treatment plan from your former oncologist, you could take that to a different oncologist (including your current one, if that has not already been done) for a second opinion.

      about 9 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar

      oh man! i think i'd feel the same way - confused and TERRIFIED! i'm so sorry for your diagnosis!

      perhaps the next step is an appointment with your current oncologist to get your questions answered. can you take a trusted friend or family member to an appointment like this? take a list of questions - no matter how long - and get all of those questions answered.

      being on herceptin for about a year and then re-evaluate sounds like the current standard of care. then, other treatment options may or may not be brought on line, depending on how the cancer responded to the treatment. no matter what happens, you should have a fairly clear picture of how things will proceed....

      i don't know if this happened with you, but the first appointments can be just so overwhelming... having a followup might help you clarify things because you won't be dealing with the "holy &%*^" part of the diagnosis. does that make sense? it certainly was true for me. fortunately, i had a very trusted family member at those appointment (my better half) - resulting in detailed notes and help with getting all of our questions answered... that helped tremendously.

      well, those are my few cents. i wish you some peace on this beautiful day (well - here in MN - it's a beautiful day. i hope it is also in your neck of the woods!).

      about 9 years ago

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