neoadjuvent herceptin & chemo

Jeanne7 Member Posts: 3 Member
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Is there anyone out there who had neoadjuvent (before surgery) therapy for Her-2 positive breast cancer. I am about 2 1/2 years post surgery, invasive ductal carcinoma 6.5 cm, possible positve early lymph node involvement on PET scan but negative at time of surgery 6 months later. Chemo of taxotere and carboplatin and herceptin before surgery and a few treatments with herceptin after surgery before MUGA scan stopped the treatments. Doctor says it is a "miracle drug" nothing to worry about in the future. I can be paronoid and not sure I believe in miracles. Never anything in the news except how wonderful Herceptin is. Is it possible that there really are not any negatives? Never had any type of follow-up scans other than the mammograms since they are "no longer recommended". Probably no need to add that I can get pretty depressed. Anyone else with a similar story?


  • seof
    seof Member Posts: 819 Member
    I had Herceptin with Taxol before surgery. My Oncologist wanted to do chemo before surgery because the tumor in the breast was large and easy to see (on mammogram and ultrasound) and feel. That way we would know whether chemo would shrink it, or which drugs to try. The drugs worked very well (boiled egg size down to hot-dog thickness in 3 weeks, invisible in 6). Side effects from Herceptin: Premature menopause with hot/cold flashes and mild moodiness, chemobrain (more forgetful than ever), and some minor swelling of the feet. I have had bilateral mastectomy and am on the last of 6 weeks of radiation, then I will do 9 months of Herceptin alone, just to be as sure as possible that any stray cancer cells that remain are not going to start growing.

    I'm with you...there are no guarantees with cancer, except that it can surprise you. However, I think if you arm yourself with information, trust your Dr. and do what he/she recommends, then you have done all you can. Then you should focus on living your life as well as you can for as long as you can.

    That's my 2 cents worth, anyway. Take care of yourself. seof
  • Jeanne, I did not have any chemo before surgery as my tumor was 1.5cm so I can't advise on that, however I can relate to feelings of depression. Being diagnosed with cancer is a terrible shock emotionally and going through treatment is a terrible shock physically. I don't think one can ever be the same as before going through it. I just passed my 2yr. anniv. and for most of that time I felt depressed and pretty much obsessed with cancer. But during the last few months I have been gradually starting to think about it a little less. I still worry, and think about death(before the cancer I NEVER thought/worried about dying)but I don't feel quite as depressed quite as often. Hang in there--I think those feelings will eventually fade but everyone has to get there in their own time. For me, I think it was important to accept that "normal" is different than it was before cancer. I will never be that same carefree person again. BUT, we can adjust and be HAPPY. Try not to let cancer rob you of that. God bless, Eileen.
  • I freaked when I found out I was her2+ and the "I Flunked my Mammogram" book (my surgeon wrote it) said that it was associated with a "poor prognosis". Then another onc. explained that the herceptin is so effective that it was good to be her2+. I know that it started as a mets drug but was so effective they quickly speeded up availability to all. And it has only been widely used for a few years, so no long term tables can be prepared yet. I like to believe that it is a very good drug and happily go for my infusions. I don't feel any side effects and have been taking it alone after chemo and rads for about two and a half months. I definitely don't feel depressed by it and my premature menopause was already in swing from the chemo. (I had my mas. before surgery) The negative is the possible heart damage, as I understand. Maybe getting a second opinion from another doc. would help ease your mind or let you take further actions. I was not told that the herceptin would "gaurantee" anything. But for us her2 pos. girls, I think it helps turn a bad situation around. Please join me in feeling hopeful! Your her2+ "positive" sister, Joyce