Patient discussion about Herceptin
Q. Can anyone tell me about herceptin? Can anyone tell me about herceptin? What kind of treatment it is and why it’s popular? Who can be treated? Does it have any side effects?
A. It is a monoclonal antibody. Patients somewhere between 15 – 25 % with breast cancer responded well to this treatment. The patients have in their cancer cells a large amount of a protein called HER2. The treatment for breast cancer patient will depend on the stage of cancer. Side effects of this Herceptin also called trastuzumab are Fatigue, diarrhea, pain, heart problems and reaction to the drug - causing chills, fever and possibly an itchy rash, feeling sick, breathlessness, wheezing, a headache, flushes and faintness. This happens to about half of patients with the first treatment but usually wears off with further treatments.
Q. What side effects are possible with chemotherapy and herceptin? My sister is taking chemotherapy now. Earlier the doctors prescribed herceptin and she had very severe vomiting and anemia. What side effects are possible with chemotherapy and herceptin?
A. The breast cancer treatment mainly focus on the removal of cancer cells and further treatment to prevent its occurance in future. Generally herceptin is the treatment given to destroy cancer cells which have high level of HER2 protein. And chemotherapy is also given to kill cancer cells, which again depends on the type & stage of cancer cells. Herceptin may have the side effects of severe anemia and nausea/ vomiting. Chemotherapy will also have the side effect such as vomiting, hair loss, fatigue, diarrhea, some infections, anemia, swellings, soreness, joint ache. But there is nothing to worry as this is the only treatment available for cancer.More discussions about Herceptin