Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Triple Negative BC Results

The results are in ......So, not only do I sit in the 5% of people diagnosed under the age of 40, but also within the 15-20% of people diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer. 

`Triple negative breast cancer is found in about 1 in 5 women with breast cancer (15-20%)` Source: Macmillan

Well aren't I a clever fucker. I tried not to write anything too flippant but I just couldn't resist. 

What is triple-negative breast cancer?

About 10 to 20 percent of breast cancers are triple-negative. 

Knowing breast cancer basics can help you understand how triple-negative breast cancer is different from other types of breast cancer. To find out what type of breast cancer you have, your doctors search for the presence or absence of three receptors, proteins that live inside or on the surface of a cell and bind to something in the body to cause the cell to react. You may have heard of the oestrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2).

In oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, progesterone receptor-positive breast cancer and HER2 positive breast cancer, treatments prevent, slow or stop cancer growth with medicines that target those receptors. But triple-negative breast cancers need different types of treatments because they are oestrogen receptor negative, progesterone receptor negative and HER2 negative. Medicines like tamoxifen, which targets the oestrogen receptor, and trastuzumab (Herceptin), which targets HER2, are not helpful in treating triple-negative breast cancer. Instead, chemotherapy has been shown to be the most effective treatment for triple-negative breast cancer.

Researchers are working to improve their understanding of the biology of triple-negative breast cancers, how these types of cancers behave and what puts people at risk for them. Their goals are to find out the best ways to use treatments that already exist and to develop new ones.

Understanding the ‘Basal-like’ Subtype

Most triple-negative breast cancers have a basal-like cell pattern. This term means the cells look like the basal cells that line the breast ducts, the tubes in the breast where milk travels. You might have heard your doctor call triple negative breast cancer a basal tumour, basal breast cancer or basal-like disease.

Basal-like breast cancers tend to over express, or make too much of, certain genes that encourage cancer growth. Not all triple-negative breast cancers are basal-like, and not all basal-like breast cancers are triple-negative. About 70 to 90 percent of triple-negative breast cancers are basal-like.

Doctors choose treatments because the cancer is triple-negative, not because it is basal-like. The  basal status of the cancer does not factor into treatment decisions, but your doctor may tell you if the cancer is basal-like because the term appears in breast cancer resources and information.

Three Myths About Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
MYTH - Women with triple-negative breast cancer can have the same treatments as all other women with breast cancer.

FACT - Many people do not understand that there are different kinds of breast cancer. Even some women who have had breast cancer do not understand the differences between triple negative breast cancers and breast cancers that are hormone receptor-positive or HER2 positive.

Women you meet may have taken a hormonal treatment pill for five years to protect them from recurrence (a return of the cancer), or they may know someone who has. These women may not understand that this option does not exist for you. Having to explain the differences between triple-negative and other breast cancers can be frustrating, especially if you are just learning about this diagnosis yourself. On the other hand, you may take some of the same chemotherapy medicines as women with other types of breast cancer.

MYTH - Triple-negative breast cancers are always hard to treat.

FACT - Your doctor may tell you triple-negative breast cancer is harder to treat than other types of breast cancer. While many triple-negative cancers are aggressive, your doctor’s prediction of how well your treatment will work depends on the tumour size and whether the cancer has travelled to the lymph nodes in your armpit just as much as it does on its triple-negative status. There are some very effective treatments for triple-negative breast cancer. Your doctor will work with you to find the treatment that is right for you.

Researchers are still learning why some women are more likely than others to develop triple-negative breast cancer. Research supports a relationship between risk and your genes, age, race and ethnicity.

There are some interesting articles on Triple Negative on and here are the links:

Not so scary anymore, and Triple-Negative Breast Cancer, Divide and Conquer, both written by Heather L Van Epps, PHD, 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment