Saturday, 23 May 2009

Herceptin treatment

I was reading a comment on Raden's blog yesterday, about herceptin treatment for BC. Wondering what it's about, I began to google on it. Believe it or not, the treatment that I'm going through now is actually herceptin treatment.

Earlier on before I started the treatment, the Oncologist was eager to find out the result of my HER2. My earlier posting, I did mention that I'm HER2 positive, meaning the cancer cell can spread aggressively. Here is a caption from a booklet that I found on the net about HER2.

HER2 stands for Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2. Each normal breast cell
contains copies of the HER2 gene, which helps normal cells grow. The HER2 gene is
found in the DNA of a cell, and this gene contains the information for making the
HER2 protein.
The HER2 protein, also called the HER2 receptor, is found on the surface of some normal
cells in the body. In normal cells, HER2 proteins help send growth signals from outside
the cell to the inside of the cell. These signals tell the cell to grow and divide.
In HER2+ breast cancer, the cancer cells have an abnormally high number of HER2 genes
per cell.When this happens, too much HER2 protein appears on the surface of these
cancer cells. This is called HER2 protein overexpression. Too much HER2 protein is
thought to cause cancer cells to grow and divide more quickly. This is why
HER2+ breast cancer is aggressive.
Luckily the drugs that I'm getting now, the doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide are actually part of herceptin treatment. Some definitions on the drugs :

DOXORUBICIN – Included in a class of chemotherapy drugs (anthracyclines) used to inhibit or
prevent the development and growth of cancer cells.

CYCLOPHOSPHAMIDE – Included in a class of chemotherapy drugs (alkylating agents) that
promotes cancer cell death.
There are some nice pictures on how the HER2 looks like but I can't find a way to copy it as it's in PDF format.
What's so good about herceptin treatment? It is actually increasing the chance of staying cancer-free longer. The nightmare of cancer survivors would be the chances of recurrence. If we have some information on the nature of the cells, we would know how to control the condition and reduce the chance of recurrence.
I had a text from my sister this morning regarding extra virgin olive oil, being the cure for cancer, as she saw it on TV. I read up on the net this morning and amazed to find out that the recent findings of Javier Menendez from Catalan Institute of Oncology and Antonio Seguara from the University of Granada in Spain, along with their team of researchers, found out the parts of olive oil that were most active against cancer. Their findings reveal that all major complex phenols present in extra-virgin olive oil considerably suppresses over-expression of the cancer gene HER2 in human breast cancer cells.
What a breakthrough! One teapoon of virgin olive oil morning and one at night will do for now. I also came to know that Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and is a great source of vitamin E, having antioxidant properties. It also protects against heart disease, lowers blood pressure, prevents the formation of blood clots and helps to maintain better intestinal and liver functions.
One great caution about the herceptin treatment is that Herceptin treatment can result in heart problems, including those without symptoms (reduced heart function) and those with symptoms (congestive heart failure). Hopefully by taking the extra virgin oil it will protect myself from having heart disease...

1 comment:

gyana said...

Another herceptin receiver here......Thanks for the info about olive oil. Flax oil is also good. Do you know anything about herceptin lowering white blood cell count, and lowering resistance to infection? ( My current situation). Good luck with your treatments, sister!