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Breast Ca, 1 year on, treatment- questions!

(7 Posts)
Erebus Tue 14-Jan-14 12:48:59

Hi, wonder if anyone could help me? I am trying to support a mate who was diagnosed with breast ca just over a year ago.

I am getting confused about what treatment she's having and wondered if anyone could shed some light, if possible.

She's 50 and had a total mastectomy and an axillary clearance (2 affected nodes). The tumour apparently contained protein receptors so she had a bone and CT scan, both thankfully clear. Since then she has undergone chemo and radiotherapy.

She's been back at work for 2 months but she has to take mornings off once every- is it 2 or 3 weeks? -to have an IV infusion of something, possibly protein blocker, that takes about 2 hours a time? She has to have a heart ultrasound regularly as I think that whatever this infusion is can affect the heart muscle? And if the u/s result isn't good, she can't have that period's infusion. I think she was due 14 of these periodic infusions.

She will also be on Tamoxifen, I think for '5-10' years. Is that taken as tablet/s? And how often do you take them?

I have another friend with a different cancer whom I am also trying to support but I am embarrassed to admit I've got myself a bit confused about what my first friend's treatment regime is and fear that she might think I've just been nodding along when she's explained and wasn't really listening!

She's down at the mo because her latest infusion was cancelled because her heart U/S didn't 'look good'. She's 'fixated' on having all the infusion treatments (which I do totally 'get'!) but I feel I can support her better if I understand better what's going on!


Erebus Tue 14-Jan-14 16:18:08


Elibean Tue 14-Jan-14 16:58:57

Erebus, I'm probably no help at all but the Tamoxigang ladies would be able to help I'm sure...and they're lovely, and always willing to share their experience. Maybe post over there?

All the best to both your mates, and to you for being a pal.

malteserzz Tue 14-Jan-14 17:05:02

I'm having treatment for breast cancer at the moment but I don't know about the infusions sorry. Do post on the tamoxifen thread someone will know !
I do know you take tamoxifen as a tablet every day, used to be for 5 years but now they are saying 10. The main side effects of that seem to be menopausal symptoms like hot flushes

kitkat1967 Tue 14-Jan-14 17:16:21

Erebus - I'm guessing that she is having Herceptin infusions. By the sound of it her BC was eostrogen and HER2 positive so she will be having 2 different on-going treatments. The heart scans will be because the Herceptin can cause damage to the heart.
I think you have followed everything correctly - Herceptin by IV for a year (probably every 3 or 4 weeks) and daily Tamoxifen tablets which used to be for 5 years but is now being extended to 10 years for some.

Erebus Wed 15-Jan-14 18:43:05

Thanks, that all makes a lot more sense. She did say to me today on the phone that 'they say that after discussion at the MDT today, they will give me the protein blocker after all' i.e. the infusion. Her oncologist has said that 14 treatments is OK but he'd prefer to give 17.

That all adds up.

She also said her heart function was '52%' but of course, I'm not sure whether 'normal' is 100% or whether super-athletes have 100% whereas the rest of us function somewhere way lower!

kitkat1967 Wed 15-Jan-14 19:22:06

Erebus - I think that 52% is the rate at which the heart does something (infarction rate maybe) - anyway mine was 55% which is in the normal range so I'm guessing that 52% is fine (you aren't aiming for 100%!!).

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