How appropriate for me to have an important meeting with with my oncologist on the first day of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We talked about everything, most notably the details of my metastatic breast cancer, its characteristics and treatment options.
First, we discussed my treatment. I guess the original plan was for me to have the Carboplatin® with the Taxol® and Avastin®, but the insurance company denied authorization because it was a trial for the three drugs. The insurance company approved use of only the two drugs, so I got the Carboplatin and Abraxane®.
Now I’m taking the Taxol with Avastin for four cycles, again, like the first regimen: three weeks on, one week break. That will take me to December 11, 2009. Then, I get a break from chemo.
Here is the good news, the interesting news.
While my primary cancer was estrogen and progesterone positive, my recurrence has tested negative for the three receptors, estrogen, progesterone and HER2neu. Dr. Mehta said, however, that sometimes a recurrence of a once ER positive that appears to test negative could actually retain characteristics of the original ER positive cancer, though undetectable. She said this can happen in particular with mets to the bone.
Because of this possibility, the thinking is to use hormonal therapy to control the progression of the tumors. So, after I finish with the current regimen of chemo and biological, Taxol and Avastin, I will take hormone therapy, specifically, an estrogen receptor downregulator. I cannot remember the name of the drug, but it is one that is newer than Faslodex® and is administered in pill form.
The argument that the cancer traipsing around in my body has ER positive characteristics is strengthened by the fact that my recurrence happened not two years into remission but four years. The recurrence at four years supports the possibility that this cancer still retains some ER positive traits. For this reason I will take the ERD as my next cycle of treatment. The hope is that we can squeeze four more years with the hormonal therapy.
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