Breast Cancer

Know your options

A diagnosis of breast cancer may be life changing for you, your family and friends. 

Getting the facts about your diagnosis and available treatments will help you make the best decisions based on your situation.  It is important to tell your doctor and nurse how you prefer to receive information and how much you want to know.

Don’t be afraid to voice your questions and concerns as this will help you and your health care team form a partnership in your care.

On the following pages, you will find information on HER2-positive breast cancer and triple negative breast cancer, the treatments available from Roche as well as some useful resources for you to download.

About HER2-positive breast cancer 

In New Zealand about 1 in 5 women with breast cancer are HER2-positive.

HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) is a protein that sits on the surface of all normal cells in your body and helps to regulate the way cells grow and divide into other cells.  In HER2-positive breast cancer, too much HER2 is present or expressed and the cells become abnormal.  These abnormal cells multiply rapidly and produce more abnormal cells resulting in a tumour.

To help your understanding of breast cancer download the booklet: What does my pathology report mean? by clicking here.

There are a number of Roche medicines available for the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer. Some of these medicines are funded by PHARMAC and some are unfunded which means you will have to pay for them. Click on the links below for more information.

Herceptin®
(trastuzumab)

For the treatment of early HER2-positive breast cancer and advanced HER2-positive breast cancer.

Kadcyla®
(trastuzumab emtansine)

For the treatment of advanced HER2-positive breast cancer.


About triple negative breast cancer (TNBC)

Triple negative breast cancer is a type of breast cancer that does not have any of the receptors commonly found on breast cancer cells – oestrogen, progesterone or HER2 receptors. 

Around 15% of all breast cancers are triple negative. 

There is a Roche medicine available for the treatment of advanced TNBC.  This medicine is not funded by PHARMAC which means you will have to pay for it. Click on the link below for more information.

Tecentriq®
(atezolizumab)

For the treatment of advanced TNBC.