(*Note: the Research page was updated on July 10, 2019, on the one-year anniversary of Ellen’s bilateral mastectomy.)
This website is a collection of resources about HER2-positive invasive breast cancer tumors in the “very small” category – under one centimeter, and especially under half a centimeter (5 millimeters).
There is no universal standard of care for this size of breast cancer tumor after its removal with surgery. Patients are left asking themselves: should I have chemotherapy and trastuzumab? Many HER2-positive patients think these heavy drugs are automatic because of the HER2 status. This is not always the case when it comes to the “very small” category of HER2-positive tumors.
I know because I’m one of these patients, and I educated myself to the best of my ability.
I read medical studies and trials, interviews and trade journal articles. I saved links to what I read, and organized them here. Maybe this collection of information might help someone else with this confusing diagnosis.
On one hand, we might infer HER2-positive is like a death sentence without the right drugs, based on how aggressive this type of cancer is. And yet on the other hand, globally accepted guidelines tell us to simply “consider” chemotherapy and other drugs for HER2-positive tumors in the “very small” category.
Ask 10 medical oncologists what drugs should be considered in adjuvant treatment, for what duration, and in what form, and you could get 10 different answers — including no drugs at all!
The only thing everyone agrees on: more research is needed on what to prescribe for patients with very small HER2-positive tumors.
In HER2-positive breast cancer, a cell mutation creates a protein that encourages fast growth. This accelerated production makes this kind of cancer particularly aggressive. And yet, node-negative HER2-positive patients with T1mic, T1a and T1b-sized tumors generally have an excellent prognosis.
So what the heck is a T1mic, T1a, T1b tumor? I made a graphic to illustrate, along with information for people who are newly diagnosed with “very small” HER2-positive breast cancer. Head to the “Start Here” page if you are starting from scratch.
The “Resources” page has links to new research, retrospective studies, medical trials, doctor interviews, and more helpful links, such as where to get a second opinion – for free.
I hope this site helps in some small way, and I wish you the best outcome possible as you navigate through your own breast cancer journey.
The information contained in this blog is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care provider.