Breast cancer
posted by jonathanadler
12 September 2022

Do metastatic patients never fully get rid of the cancer?

Last reply: 2 months ago

I am a metastatic breast cancer patient, after 12 years remission from ER+, PR+, HER2+ my cancer came back as ER-, PR-, HER2+. It is a mass in my chest, in the lymph nodes of my right armpit and a tumour on my pancreas. However both my breasts are clear.

I've been receiving Paclitaxel, Pertuzumab and Trastuzumab on the first week of each cycle, Paclitaxel on the second week and then a third week off. My recent CT showed things have shrunk a lot and after one more cycle of chemotherapy I'll start maintenance with just Pertuzumab and Trastuzumab every 3 weeks.

I'm confused because when I first had breast cancer I was treated until it was gone, then put on Arimidex tablet maintenance. This time around I'm starting maintenance even though there is still some cancer left. My oncologist said it will never go away fully and this is what we do, but I just wanted to check if this is common? It feels a bit horrible still having it in me...

All the best,

Bernadette

1 comment

Comments

commented by Cancer Nurse
21 September 2022

2 months ago

Dear Bernadette

Thank you for posting on our online community. I am hoping you will hear from others soon who have also been unfortunate to have their breast cancer return and are currently on treatment similar to you. It must have come as an awful shock to you.

My understanding from your post would be that when the breast cancer was ER+ and PR+ that the chemotherapy you had then would be different from the chemo suitable when hormone negative. So your oncologist is targeting your current cancer cells which are HER2+ with Trastuzumab & Pertuzumab. These drugs by attaching to the HER2 protein aim to slow down or stop the cancer cells from growing. Paclitaxel has been effective but to continue may cause you side effects that may outweigh the benefits.

It is a very reasonable question for you to go again to speak to your oncologist about and discuss any other options she may have in mind for you now or in the future.

If you would like to speak to any of the ladies trained as ‘Peer Support’ volunteers who also have metastatic breast cancer, we can arrange that over the phone. We can also give you information regarding the different cancer support centres that have support groups for those with metastatic breast cancer. Our phone number is 1800 200 700.

We are all cancer nurses here and would very much like to support you at this time.

Kind regards

Cancer Nurse  

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