If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with hormone receptor (HR)-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative breast cancer, you may be wondering about the various treatment options available. It’s natural to have questions and concerns, and we’re here to provide you an informative guide to help you better understand the treatment choices at your disposal.
Understanding HR-Positive, HER2-Negative Breast Cancer
Before we dive into treatment options, let’s first break down what HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer means. HR-positive breast cancer means that the cancer cells in your breast have receptors for hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone. This type of breast cancer tends to grow in response to these hormones.
On the other hand, HER2-negative breast cancer indicates that the cancer cells do not have an excess of the HER2 protein, which can drive the growth of cancer cells. This combination of HR-positive and HER2-negative status is quite common, and it plays a significant role in determining the most suitable treatment options.
In many cases, the first step in treating HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer is surgery. Surgery can involve either a lumpectomy (removal of the tumor and some surrounding tissue) or a mastectomy (removal of the entire breast). The choice of surgery depends on the size and location of the tumor, as well as your personal preferences. After surgery, you may undergo additional treatments to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.
2. Radiation Therapy
After surgery, your healthcare team might recommend radiation therapy to target any remaining cancer cells in the breast area. Radiation helps reduce the risk of the cancer returning and is typically used after a lumpectomy but may also be suggested following a mastectomy in certain situations.
3. Hormone Therapy
Given that HR-positive breast cancer cells are fueled by hormones, hormone therapy is a crucial component of treatment. This therapy may involve medications that either block hormone receptors or lower hormone levels in the body. The goal is to stop cancer cells from receiving the hormonal signals they need to grow and divide.
The choice of medication and duration of treatment will be discussed with your healthcare provider based on your specific circumstances.
In some cases, especially if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or is high-risk, chemotherapy may be recommended. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells throughout the body. It is often administered in cycles and may cause side effects, but your healthcare team will work with you to manage any discomfort.
5. Targeted Therapies
For certain cases of HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer, targeted therapies may be used in combination with