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Initial Diagnosis of HR+/HER2- Breast Cancer


Valerie Frank and Sara M. Tolaney, MD, MPH, share advice for patients on managing treatment with antibody-drug conjugates and the importance of participating in clinical trials for HR+/HER2- metastatic breast cancer.


I'm Valerie. I live in eastern Massachusetts. I was diagnosed at age 44. It was not from a mammogram — I had skipped my mammogram that year, and don't recommend that at all. I just found a lump while I was sitting and reading a book, and I had never had a lump before in my life.

I called my OBGYN and they didn't call back. So I panicked and just went in. And the nurse practitioner who was there said, "I don't like the way this feels" and sent me directly to to have a biopsy. And while they were biopsy, seeing while they were doing the biopsy, the nurse who is part of the tech team said, "Oh, honey, it's definitely breast cancer, but it's just gonna be a bump in the road."

And I went home just totally in shock and and we ended up seeing one oncologist at who was affiliated with my OBGYN office. Shortly thereafter, they told me it was stage 2, and that they did think there was lymph node involvement, but that that they thought it was still caught early, and that a very good chance of everything being fine. And and then we met with a doctor at Dana-Farber, and very quickly realized that ... I wanted to be treated at Dana-Farber.

They also thought it was stage 2, although by the time I was finished with with chemo and had it and had a lumpectomy, it was clear that it was really stage 3 all along.

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