Receptor Results: ER/PR-, HER2+

I received a call from my breast surgeon this afternoon.  She said that she’s not too concerned about the close DCIS margin near the skin and it can be removed when I have reconstruction surgery.

The big news today is that my invasive tumor is Estrogen Receptor (ER) negative, Progesterone Receptor (PR) negative, and Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2 (HER2) positive.  Because of the ER/PR- status, for me, neither Tamoxifen nor Femara would be effective in knocking out residual or preventing further growth.  Herceptin, however, now becomes an option because I am HER2+.  It is typically used in combination with chemotherapy, something I’m sure I will be discussing with my oncologist on Tuesday.

There doesn’t appear to be a lot of medical literature out there specific to my case where the tumor is <5mm because oftentimes tumors this small were not treated further after mastectomy with clear margins and cancer free nodes.  However, I have placed a link in the sidebar describing one study showing very promising results from Herceptin treatment for patients like me.  HER2 means my cancer is especially aggressive so I have a feeling that we’re going to want to attack any remaining rogue cells aggressively with adjuvant (Herceptin/chemo) treatment.  Every treatment comes with potentially significant side effects, and therefore it’s not necessarily a no-brainer.

I’ve temporarily cut down on my walking and am wearing an arm sling to help reduce the motion of my right arm while exercising.  This is because back on Monday the physician’s assistant said that I’ll be able to remove the JP drain sooner if I reduce the amount of arm swing during walking.  A well meaning neighbor saw me in a sling tonight and assumed that I’d broken my arm, remarking that our current hot spell is a bad time to be sporting a cast.  It was too complicated to explain the true motivation for the sling, so I simply smiled and concurred.  At any rate, I’ll gladly reduce my exercise a bit over the next few days if it means I can bathe for real sooner, because, after all, a hot spell is a bad time to be skipping showers.

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