I am a recent lumpectomy patient, I am told I have an aggressive tumor, rated nine on the Scarf-Bloom-Richardson scale, with HER 2-neu overexpression 22 per 10 hpf, negative sentinel nodes, tumor diameter 13mm, 53 yrs, no pregnancies, no family history. I have had one of six chemotherapy sessions of CAF. What are my long-term odds of survival and recurrence? Does an overexpression of HER2-neu mean I am at risk constantly for all kinds of cancers? Just breast cancer? Just one time? Will anti-oxidants help?
Dear Valley Girl: Technically, your cancer is stage one. By definition stage one tumors that are between 1-2 centimeters and node negative have a 95.8% five year survival. Factors such as Estrogen and Progesterone receptors as well as HER 2-neu overexpression may contribute to a slightly higher (or lower) risk of recurrence but these numbers are guesses, at best. What we do know is that these factors will help us to determine which types of treatments are likely to be most effective. The relationship of HER 2-neu does not necessarily increase your risk for other cancers, although this is not well researched. Having had cancer of any kind does increase your risk for developing another cancer, although this risk is not high. Some women who have had breast cancer are at higher than average risk for ovarian cancer. Having had breast cancer does put you at risk for a second breast cancer. To date, there is not adequate research to demonstrate that anti-oxidants will significantly reduce the risk of cancer.
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