The many faces of Breast Cancer
Being able to diagnose different subtypes of breast cancer has led to highly effective personalised treatments.
Breast cancer can happen to all of us
Your mother. Your sister. Your best friend. You love these women unconditionally because of all the little things that make them who they are.
Each one of these women is unique. But breast cancer doesn’t care. It doesn’t care if she’s into green smoothies or if she smokes. If she’s a grandmother or a student. It can happen to anyone. And when it does happen, each woman’s breast cancer is as individual as she is.
We are not powerless against breast cancer
Yes, there are things you can do to help prevent disease, but it’s not as simple as eating healthily and exercising regularly.1 Many factors come into play before a tumour begins to grow. If you discover a lump in your breast, the first thing you need to do is arm yourself with knowledge and courage.
Most breast cancers can be treated if caught in time. Knowing precisely which subtype of breast cancer you are facing is the most important step in deciding the best way to fight it. You are more likely to respond favourably to a treatment plan that targets your specific cancer.2
Understanding breast cancer subtypes
Breast cancer is often referred to as one disease, though it is actually many different diseases, each with distinct characteristics.
The most common way to classify breast tumours is by looking for three specific proteins found on cell surfaces:3
- The estrogen receptor (ER)
- The progesterone receptor (PR)
- The human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2).
These receptors support cancer growth. Treatments are therefore designed to block the receptors you may test positive for.
About one in five women diagnosed with breast cancer worldwide will have HER2-positive breast cancer.4 Even though HER2 is a particularly aggressive form of the disease, the highly effective HER2-targeted personalised therapies mean women are experiencing better outcomes than ever before.5
Our greatest weapon is knowledge. Learn the facts about the unique biology of your breast cancer. Ask questions. And talk to your doctors about advanced diagnostics and personalised therapy.
Getting back to healthy
Be inspired to take ownership of your health with these women’s stories. There’s a fine line between fear and control. Let’s erase it together.
- American Cancer Society [Internet]. Can I lower my risk of breast cancer? Available at https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/risk-and-prevention/can-i-lower-my-risk.html. Accessed September 2017.
- Goldhirsch A, Winder EP, Coates AS, et al. Personalizing the treatment of women with early breast cancer: Highlights of the St Gallen International Expert Consensus on the Primary Therapy of Early Breast Cancer. Annals of Oncology 2013;24(9):2206-2223.
- Dai, X, Xiang L , Li T, and Bai Z, et al. Cancer hallmarks, biomarkers and breast cancer molecular subtypes. Journal of Cancer [Internet]. 2016 June. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4934037/. Accessed September 2017.
- Wolff AC, Hammond ME, Hicks, DG, et al. Recommendations for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 testing in breast cancer: American Society of Clinical Oncology/College of American Pathologists clinical practice guideline update. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2013;31(31):3997−4013.
- Drakaki, A, Hurvitz S, American Journal of Hematology/Oncology [Internet]. Her-2-positive breast cancer: Update on new and emerging agents. Available from: http://www.gotoper.com/publications/ajho/2015/2015apr/her2-positive-breast-cancer-update-on-new-and-emerging-agents. Accessed September 2017.