Hi all

During my hospital appointment yesterday I met a lady who recognised me from previous appointments. We chatted and I found out this lady was a bio-chemist ( so obviousy had some medical knowledge). We talked about our treatment during BC, both having ops, Chemo and RT.Both of us have finished these.

One thing that we had in common is that neither of us can take herceptin as we have been diagnosed as unreceptive to it. I asked her if this was to our detriment and she said ‘yes’.

This has now stuck in my mind and I am thinking that I am missing out on more modern treatments, am I right to think this?

This has been going around in my head all day. What does Herceptin do that other treatments don’t? Am I more ‘at risk’ of secondaries if I cannot take it ?

Can anyone put my mind at rest? Or am I being a silly moo?

love Yvonne



Can I ask if your bc diagnosis was ER positive, if not then I can only assume that you are triple negative which means that your bc would not respond to the hormone drugs or to herceptin which is given to women who have the Her2 type of bc. If this is the case then it is true that there are less treatment options for tnbc. However, I have heard that tnbc responds well to chemo. But bc in any form is a pretty sh…ty disease and I think we all know that on here.


Hi Gardenparty,.

I am ER+ PR- and HER2+, I have herceptin every 3 weeks by IV. Not all breast cancers are the same. HER2+ breast cancer cells have more HER2 receptors (a particular protein found on the surface of cells) than normal breast cells,HER2+ breast cancer (your doctor may call it “HER2-overexpressing breast cancer”) is considered aggressive because the cells have too many HER2 receptors, which cause the cells to grow and divide too quickly. Herceptin blocks these receptors. If you have been tested which I am assuming you have and been found to be HER2- then there is no point in giving you herceptin as you don’t have the relevant receptors on your particular cancer. I am also on tamoxifen which blocks estrogen feeding the cancer cells.
Hope this helps
love and light
sarahlousie xx

I disagree with the biochemist you spoke to. How can it be to your detriment to have HER2 negative cancer? If your cancer is HER2 negative there is simply no point in taking Herceptin.

I was told by my Breast Care Nurse that HER2+ breast cancer is more agressive so I was delighted that my HER2 test was negative.

I was told a HER2 tumour is the worse tumour to have but the better tumour to treat …

Christine xx (HER2+++)

My OH has had 9 out of 18 Herceptin treatments. She is given it because she is HER2 positive which means her cancer is more aggressive. Herceptin only works for HER2 positive cancer. We would rather not have Herceptin because of what it means but the bottom line is that none of this is any fun.

Hi all

I am asking these questions now as I should have asked them ages ago ,when my head was in the sand.

I don’t want to upset anyone or start a major debate , but I don’t know about positives and negatives ,i really should have paid attention when it was discussed but there was an awful lot to take in.

I have frantically been checking my notes and all I can find out is that I am ER status positive , grade 2 , the tumour was 3.1 cm x 5.0 cm and that the nodes were positive and that I am sensitive to tamoxifen. Sorry if this is not much help in answering the question asked above.

I seem to throw myself at the doctors and let them get on with it, just asking if not being able to have herceptin has got inside my head.




Yvonne, you really don’t need to worry about starting a major debate, any replies you get will be given with a hug.

It’s good that you are ER+, because that means there are things that can be given to help prevent recurrence. In your case, this is what Tamoxifen is for.

If you’re HER2+, that means that your tumour over-expresses a growth factor, which is why HER2+ tumours used to be worse to have because they were that much more aggressive. However, with the arrival of Herceptin which specifically targets the HER2 receptors on any cancer cells, it’s now not such a bad thing. My onc told me that Herceptin brings my risk of recurrence/secondaries is reduced to be the same as someone with ER+ cancer.

It’s a drag having to go to the hospital every three weeks for a further year, it makes the active treatment stage really long. And much as I love the chemo nurses, I’d be happy never to see them again!

I understand around 25% of BC is HER2+, so you are in the majority.

I think there are some leaflets on here, and on the Macmillan site, that explain what the different therapies do. Have a bit of a browse in the Publications section on here, I’m sure it will reassure you that you’re getting the right treatment for YOUR cancer.

Good luck, and don’t feel bad about asking questions, THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A SILLY QUESTION. None of us knew anything about this disease until we asked questions, so ask away.


thank you CM

that clarifies things alot.

I did not know there was a difference between ER and HER etc until you answered my posting.Funny how the lady who gave me her opinion is still wandering around thinking the wrong things,though she was answering a direct question from me.

Anyway, I feel more reassured now and I am glad I posted and heard everyones’ opinion.

Know exactly what you mean about the chemo nurses, mine were wonderful but by the end of CT I was glad to see the end of it and I am sure I will feel th same about the surgeon and Ocologist, who are equally as wonderful.

thank god for them!I am going to bed now as RT has fatigued me ( but hopefully only for a short while)

love to you all



hi this is the first time i havedone anything like this.Has anyonehad the same as me,i was diagnosed withinvasive ductal cancer grade 2 i had centinal node biopsy,1 node affected i am ER positive and PR positive HER2 negative.Ithink i am one of the lucky ones as i didnt have to have chemo or rads.what puzzles me is i never saw an onchologist or had any scans only dex scan for bones.I had mastectomy in oct 2010 i am taking Anastrozole for 5yr .Hope someone can give me some answers sorry to go on so long it seems to have taken me a long time to find courage to do this .Not very good on computers.luv to all littlemomo