Triple Negative Breast Cancer
The awareness of "triple negative breast cancer" is relatively new. It refers to breast cancers that test negatively for estrogen, progesterone, and HER2, and brings important implications for treatment. For decades, we have known about ER and PR positive or negative breast cancers. First, there was tamoxifen for the treatment of ER positive cancers, and later came the AI s which are helpful for post menopausal women. Until the discovery of the HER2receptors ,(www.HER2positive.com), there was no understanding of this particular variant and certainly no dedicated treatment. Then came herceptin, later followed by other similar drugs which are very helpful in the treatment of HER2 positive disease.
Women who have triple negative breast cancers often feel especially vulnerable and scared about their prognosis. To date, there have been no special treatments suggested for these cancers, and women often feel that others have more treatment options. While triple negative breast cancers may be more aggressive than some others, they also respond especially well to chemotherapy. Slower growing ER positive cancers, on the other hand, are generally less sensitive to chemotherapy drugs and do very well with the estrogen blockers/hormonal therapies.
All of this is to say that there is ever increasing attention on particular kinds of breast cancer and the development of therapies which are more specific and more helpful. If you are interested in reading more about triple negative cancers, LBBC has produced an excellent book which can be ordered as a paper copy or downloaded. Here is the information:
"Our Guide to Understanding Triple-Negative Breast Cancer, created in partnership with the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation,offers helpful information, whether you have just been diagnosed or you are moving forward after treatment. Learn common terms your doctor may use and what might increase your risk for developing this type of breast cancer. Get the facts on treatments, and find out how to deal with myths about this diagnosis. If you finished treatment, sort through post-treatment concerns, including follow-up testing and managing the fear of recurrence. Read the experiences of real women affected by triple-negative breast cancer and tips from healthcare professionals.
"This guide was written with guidance from a team of health care professionals and women affected by breast cancer."