Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Round #2 tomorrow

Tomorrow is Round #2 of chemo. They are adding the Herceptin, which will prolong chemo by probably an hour or so as it has to be a slow drip so they can monitor any potential reactions to it. Cancer cells grow in an uncontrolled fashion. Herceptin works on the surface of the cancer cell by blocking the chemical signals that can stimulate this uncontrolled growth. Genes are like instruction manuals that tell each cell of our body how to grow, what kind of cell to become, and how to behave. Genes do this by ordering the cell to make special proteins that cause a certain activity -- like cell growth, rest, or repair.
Some cancer cells have abnormalities in genes that tell the cell how much and how fast to grow. Sometimes the cancer cells have too many copies of these genes with abnormalities. When there are too many copies of these genes, doctors refer to it as "overexpression." With some forms of gene overexpression, cancer cells will make too many of the proteins that control cell growth and division, causing the cancer to grow and spread. By blocking the signals, Herceptin can slow or stop the growth of the breast cancer. Herceptin is an example of an immune targeted therapy. In addition to blocking HER2 receptors, Herceptin can also help fight breast cancer by alerting the immune system to destroy cancer cells onto which it is attached.
While I am not looking forward to tomorrow, today was a really good day at work-busy but extremely productive. Getting people housed with our rapid re-housing dollars is so satisfying. I love it when a plan comes together! When I finally got home tonight, I had a big, ole piece of pumpkin pie. A big shout out to my soul sister, Deb, for sending the pie home with Hannah. It is delish!

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