What is HER2 Positive Breast Cancer?
Facts & Statistics about HER2 Positive Breast CancerSome essential facts and figures pertaining to HER2-positive breast cancer are presented below:
- Approximately 12 percent of US women are likely to develop invasive breast cancer at some point in their lives.
- HER2-positive breast cancer represents approximately 20 percent of all breast cancers.
- HER2-positive breast cancer varies with age and race.
- Prevalence of HER2-positive breast cancer among all types of breast cancer is estimated to be 19 percent for women aged ≤49 years and 15 percent aged ≥50 years.
Five-year Relative Survival Rate for Breast Cancer
|Stage of Cancer||Survival Rate (%)|
|Stage 0 and Stage I||100|
What are the Causes of HER2 Positive Breast Cancer?The primary cause of HER2-positive breast cancer is the mutation of the HER2 gene. In this regard, the following observations should be noted:
- The HER2 gene mutation stimulates excessive cell growth and division.
- The HER2 protein causes normal cells to grow uncontrollably like aggressive cancer cells.
- The HER2 protein is present at high levels in approximately 30 percent of breast cancers, making them HER2-positive.
- High levels of HER2 protein are linked to a greater likelihood of metastasis, relapse, and lower patient survival.
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VCU Massey Cancer Center physician-researcher Charles E. Geyer, Jr., M.D., supported clinical trials that demonstrated that trastuzumab significantly improves the long-term survival of HER-2 positive breast cancer patients.