MedStar Health Oncologist Dr. Kurian Discusses HER2-Positive Breast Cancer and Treatment Options

MedStar Health Oncologist Dr. Kurian Discusses HER2-Positive Breast Cancer and Treatment Options

Alright, it’s breast cancer awareness
month and we got house calls today with MedStar Health Cancer Network.
Dr. Shweta Kurian, medical oncologist and hematologist at MedStarFranklin
Square and MedStar Health Bel Air — you’re all over the place — in the studio with us
today and we’re talking about HER2- positive breast cancer. What is that Dr.
Kurian? So basically these are receptors that are found on the surface of the
breast cancer cells. These are proteins that help send signals into the cell to
help divide and you know growth of the cells. They’re present in normal cells
too, but in HER2-positive breast cancer, as they say, there is increase amount of
these receptors on the surface of the cells; so there is more signal going
inside the cell, the cells keep dividing and dividing and form tumor cells. They
tend to be more aggressive than other cancers, but when you find that you have
a HER2 receptor you can then target that particular receptor and treat it
accordingly. And this is interesting because people think of breast cancer has
one thing, but there’s many types of breast cancer. What percentage of them
are these HER2? So HER2 basically is about 20 to 30 percent of breast cancers.
You have the ER positive, the PR positive, which are the estrogen progesterone
positive receptors, and then you have the HER2 receptor; so if you look at these
breast cancers they behave very differently depending on the type of
receptors they have. The ER and PRs are less aggressive. The HER2s and the triple
negatives, if they don’t have any receptors, are probably the most
aggressive ones. So it’s the pathologist who tells us whether the tumor actually
has the HER2 receptor or not. They do certain testing and when the report
comes back to us it says that the tumor has this receptor up there. HER2
treatment, how’s that different from other types of breast cancer? It’s
actually, you know in 2006 was the time when the first medication hit the
market for treating HER2-positive cancers. We have Herceptin, which actually
targets the HER2. The name Herceptin is actually telling you where it acts. There
are lots of other medications that have been approved since, Pertuzumab or Perjeta, Kadcyla, Lapatinib, and many more are in the making right now. These
medications have changed the way these tumors are treated now. It used to be
that these are more aggressive, but now because you
have a targeted medication to target these tumors, patients with HER2-positive
breast cancers tend to do well. And so medication just specifically for that
cancer? That’s correct. You know patients do much
better because it’s targeted The response rates are much higher because
we can use these targeted medications and earlier patients used to have high
recurrence rates because of HER2-positive tumors, but now because of these
medications that has come down. It’s actually considered good to have HER2
receptor because you can target it and treat it very very specifically. That is
surely good news. Alright Dr. Kurian, thanks so much. One of our many experts
in the studio. She’s going to leave us and she’s gonna go right next door to
take your calls. The number is 410-481-2222. House Calls here at WMAR-2 News.

One comment

  1. My wife had her2, she nearly died from this Treatment with herceptin…we stoppet that crap and did b17 and detox, vitamin c, proper food like organic vegetables no animal products: she is cancer free since 8 years, healthier than ever…and you are just a bunch of liars, murders, killing for cash

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