A substance found in blood, urine, or body tissue that can give doctors useful information about a cancer.1 Biomarkers are molecules that indicate normal or abnormal process taking place in your body and may be a sign of an underlying condition or disease. Various types of molecules, such as DNA (genes), proteins or hormones, can serve as biomarkers, since they all indicate something about your health.2
CDK4/6 inhibitors are a class of medicines used to treat certain types of metastatic breast cancer. These medicines interrupt the process through which breast cancer cells divide and multiply. To do this, they target specific proteins known as the cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6, abbreviated as CDK4/6. That’s why you may hear them referred to as “targeted therapies”.3
Breast cancer that wasn’t detected until it had spread to another part of the body. “De novo” means from the beginning.4
DNA stands for Deoxyribonucleic Acid. They are the molecules inside cells that carry genetic information and pass it from one generation to the next.5
Treatment that adds, blocks, or removes hormones. For certain conditions (such as diabetes or menopause), hormones are given to adjust low hormone levels. Hormones can also cause certain cancers (such as prostate and breast cancer) to grow. To slow or stop the growth of cancer, synthetic hormones or other drugs may be given to block the body’s natural hormones, or surgery is used to remove the gland that makes a certain hormone. Also called hormonal therapy, hormone therapy, and hormone treatment.6
Extreme tiredness and an inability to function due to a lack of energy.7
Units of heredity passed from parents to their offspring; pieces of DNA that contain information for making a specific protein.8
Describes cells that have a protein called HER2 on their surface. In normal cells, HER2 helps control cell growth. Cancer cells that make too much HER2 may grow more quickly and are more likely to spread to other parts of the body. Checking to see if a cancer is HER2 positive may help plan treatment, which may include drugs that kill HER2-positive cancer cells. Cancers that may be HER2 positive include breast, bladder, pancreatic, ovarian, and stomach cancers. Also called c-erbB-2 positive and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 positive.9
Describes cells that have a small amount or none of a protein called HER2 on their surface. In normal cells, HER2 helps control cell growth. Cancer cells that are HER2 negative may grow more slowly and are less likely to recur (come back) or spread to other parts of the body than cancer cells that have a large amount of HER2 on their surface. Checking to see if a cancer is HER2 negative may help plan treatment. Cancers that may be HER2 negative include breast, bladder, ovarian, pancreatic, and stomach cancers. Also called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 negative.10
Describes cells that have a group of proteins that bind to a specific hormone. For example, some breast cancer cells have receptors for the hormones oestrogen or progesterone. These cells are hormone receptor positive and they need oestrogen or progesterone to grow. This can affect how the cancer is treated. Knowing if the cancer is hormone receptor positive may help plan treatment.11
Describes cells that do not have a group of proteins that bind to a specific hormone. For example, some breast cancer cells do not have receptors for the hormones oestrogen or progesterone. These cells are hormone receptor negative and they do not need oestrogen or progesterone to grow. This can affect how the cancer is treated. Knowing if the cancer is hormone receptor negative may help plan treatment.12
Substances in the body that control certain cells or organs.13 Oestrogen20 and progesterone22 are examples of hormones.
A complex network of cells, tissues, organs, and the substances they make that helps the body fight infections and other diseases. The immune system includes white blood cells and organs and tissues of the lymph system, such as the thymus, spleen, tonsils, lymph nodes, lymph vessels, and bone marrow.15
Cancerous. Cells that are malignant can spread to other parts of the body.16
Cancer that has spread from the primary site (where it started) to other places in the body. This is sometimes referred to as advanced or stage 4 cancer.17,18
Any change in the DNA sequence of a cell. Mutations can have a positive effect, a negative effect, or no effect. Some mutations may lead to cancer or other diseases.19
A type of hormone made by the body that helps develop and maintain female sex characteristics.20
The time before menopause. Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her menstrual periods no longer happen.21
A type of hormone made by the body that plays a role in the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. Progesterone can also be made in the laboratory. It may be used as a type of birth control and to treat menstrual disorders, infertility, symptoms of menopause, and other conditions.22
In medicine, the course of a disease, such as cancer, as it becomes worse or spreads in the body.23
Having to do with the time after menopause. Menopause (“change of life”) is the time in a woman’s life when menstrual periods stop permanently.24
Come back; when cancer comes back after it is treated.25
The name for breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It can also be referred to as stage 4 or metastatic breast cancer.26
This describes the extent of cancer within the body and is usually represented by a number and/or letter.27
A type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances to find and attack specific types of cancer cells with less harm to normal cells.28
A type of breast cancer in which the tumour cells do not have oestrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, or large amounts of HER2/neu protein on their surface. Knowing whether breast cancer is triple negative is important in planning treatment. Also called ER-negative PR-negative HER2/neu-negative breast cancer and TNBC.29
An abnormal mass of tissue that forms when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should. Tumours may be benign (not cancer), or malignant (cancer).30
UK | SEPTEMBER 2021 | 124200
You know you best
Your healthcare team is your best resource throughout your treatment. Talk openly and often with them about your doubts, questions and concerns. It might make you feel more in control if you take some time to plan for your appointment. Making notes before, during and after can help you retain information and make the most of your visits. We have developed a guide to support you in having these conversations with some tips to help you get the information you need.
Download your Moments That Count appointment guide.
Moments That Count has been developed and funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Limited. It has been created in collaboration with secondary breast cancer patients whose knowledge and insights have informed the content and direction for the campaign.
If you get side effects with any medication you are taking, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse.This includes any possible side effects not listed in the information leaflet that comes in the pack. You can report side effects via the Yellow Card Scheme at https://yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/. By reporting side effects, you can help provide more information on the safety of your medication.
©2022 Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd - UK | September 2022 | 124182-1 | This site is intended for an audience in the UK.