HER 2 is out of the closet, as a virulent breast cancer strain that can be won over only with awareness, timely detection, and early treatment. Among the many types of breast cancer, HER2, an aggressive type of breast cancer is detected in almost one in 5 women.
HER2, which represents the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, is a protein manufactured by a particular gene that takes care of cell growth, division and repair. HER2 positive women portray excessive quantities of HER2 in the breast cells.
Breast cancer is becoming one of the leading causes of death amongst women in the 35 to 55 age group. Armed with statistics, The International Agency for Research on Cancer has said that in 2001 nearly 79,000 women were affected by breast cancer, which further increased to about 80,000 in 2002. In India, the urban areas are portraying a higher incidence of breast cancer compared to the rural areas.
What makes HER 2 dangerous and challenging is that the tumors progress at a very rapid rate. The chance of a relapse of the tumor is also very high, enhancing the risk of the disease spreading to all parts of the body. What makes it worse, in comparison to other types of cancers is that HER 2 positive can simply cut the life expectancy by 50%.
Herceptin is turning out to be the proven method to bell this virulent breast cancer strain. This magic treatment targets the cancerous cells and effectively hampers their growth. The good thing is that Herceptin does not touch the healthy cells and patients may not experience all of the usual side effects like hair loss, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, or a reduction in red or white blood cell count.
All this will work provided the disease is detected early and the treatment has begun at the opportune time. This is perhaps the only method to arrest the advancement of the disease as well as realize positive treatment outcomes.