Survival Rates And Prognosis
The outlook for breast cancer is often described in terms of relative survival rates.
Relative survival rates are an estimate of the percentage of people who will survive their cancer for a given period of time after diagnosis. Survival among people with cancer is compared to survival among people of the same age and race who have not been diagnosed with cancer.
Five-year relative survival rates tend to be lower for triple-negative breast cancer than for other forms of breast cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, the overall 5-year relative survival rate for TNBC is . However, an individuals outlook depends on many factors, including the stage of the cancer and the grade of the tumor.
Your healthcare professional will be able to give you a more precise outlook based on:
- the stage of your TNBC
Can Tnbc Cells Use Fatty Acids
In a new study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Dias and colleagues demonstrate that in addition to glutamine, a well-known cancer food source, TNBC cells can use fatty acids to grow and survive. When inhibitors that block both glutamine and fatty acid metabolism were used in concert, TNBC growth and migration slowed, Dias said.
What Is The Treatment For Triple Negative Breast Cancer
Healthcare providers and researchers are making significant progress on TNBC treatments. Recent clinical trials are testing new combinations of drugs and new approaches to existing treatments. Some existing treatments are:
- Chemotherapy: Providers might combine chemotherapy and surgery, with chemotherapy being used to shrink your tumor before surgery or after surgery to kill cancer cells throughout your body.
- Surgery: This could be a lumpectomy to remove an individual lump, or a mastectomy to remove an entire breast. Providers then perform a sentinel node biopsy or axillary node surgery to look for signs your breast cancer has spread to your lymph nodes.
- Radiation therapy: Post-surgery radiation therapy helps reduce the chances your cancer will return or recur.
- Immunotherapy: This treatment stimulates your immune system to produce more cancer-fighting cells or help healthy cells identify and attack cancer cells. Immunotherapy can be added to chemotherapy to before surgery to shrink the tumor. You might also receive immunotherapy for about a year after your surgery and post-surgery radiation therapy.
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After Her Own Fight Against Cancer Melanie Nix Works To Help Other Breast Cancer Patients And Advocates In Support Of Cancer Research
Breast cancer is all too familiar for Melanie Nix of University Park, Md. Melanie remembers as a young girl when her grandmother was diagnosed with the disease. When she was 8 years old, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and each of her three aunts had breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or both.
Given my family history, I knew I was at very high risk for developing breast cancer, Melanie says.
Her gynecologist suggested close monitoring with MRI screens rather than mammograms and that Melanie undergo testing for the BRCA gene mutations that are linked to significantly increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers. In July 2008, Melanie learned that she was positive for a mutation in her BRCA1 gene.
An MRI scan later that year showed that the 38-year-old mother of two young children had breast cancer.
It was triple-negative breast cancer, a very aggressive form of breast cancer that disproportionately affects African-American women and younger women, Nix says.
I sometimes regret not having been tested for the BRCA gene mutations sooner, but there were a few things that held me back. Some of it was fear and anxiety about my future insurability, but much of it was that I was pretty sure that if I tested positive, I would be aggressive in my approach to preventing disease, she says. In preparing to have and breast-feed my second child, I held off getting tested.
You can read Melanies full story in the AACR Cancer Progress Report 2012.
How Is Triple Negative Breast Cancer Diagnosed
The first step might be a mammogram to evaluate a suspicious mass or lump in your breast. Based on what they learn, healthcare providers might perform a biopsy to remove breast tissue. Then they examine the tissues cells to determine the cancer subtype. Identifying the cancer subtype is part of the staging process, which is when providers decide how to treat your cancer.
Sometimes providers use the following tests before treatment to check on your tumors size and whether it has spread, or after treatment to monitor response to treatment:
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Risk Factors For Triple
Doctors aren’t sure what makes you more likely to get triple-negative breast cancer. Not many women do — it only affects up to 20% of those who have breast cancer. You’re most at risk for triple-negative breast cancer if you:
- Are African-American or Latina
- Have what your doctor will call a BRCA mutation , especially the gene BRCA1
Advances In Treatment Of Tnbc
TNBC has a high probability of recurrence within the first 3 years after diagnosis, and when it spreads it often involves visceral organs, such as the lung, liver, and brain. With this aggressive behavior and short survival once it becomes metastatic, developing optimal therapeutic strategies for the treatment of early TNBC is crucial to prevent recurrence. In the past decade, extensive efforts have been made to find new therapeutic targets of TNBC based on its molecular structure. At this time, no targeted agents are approved in the curative or early setting.
However, exhaustive research efforts are underway to identify novel therapeutics for both early and advanced disease. Just last year, atezolizumab, an immunotherapy drug, was approved in conjunction with a standard chemotherapy for the initial treatment of metastatic TNBC. This therapy showed a longer survival for women who received the immunotherapy combined with nab-paclitaxel compared with nab-paclitaxel alone. Clinical trials are integral not only for the treatment of patients today but also to improve the available therapies for patients to come.
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New Treatments Needed For Advanced Triple
Conventional chemotherapy drugs have not been effective against triple-negative breast cancer, and new treatment options are needed, said Jung-Min Lee, M.D., of the Womens Malignancies Branch in NCIs Center for Cancer Research.
In the KEYNOTE-355 trial, 847 patients with advanced triple-negative breast cancer were randomly assigned to receive chemotherapy plus placebo or chemotherapy plus pembrolizumab.
The study assessed the amount of time before the disease worsened and overall survival in all patients, in those with PD-L1 combined positive scores of 1 or more, and in those with combined positive scores of 10 or more. The trial was funded by Merck, the manufacturer of pembrolizumab.
The PD-L1 combined positive score is essentially a measure of the extent to which cells in a tumor produce PD-L1, the immune checkpoint protein that pembrolizumab targets. By blocking immune checkpoints, pembrolizumab and other immune checkpoint inhibitors unleash the immune system against cancer cells.
The incidence of treatment-related side effects, including serious side effects, was similar between the two groups of patients in the study.
What Percentage Of Breast Cancer Is Triple Negative
Triple-negative breast cancer accounts for about 10-15% of all breast cancers. The term triple-negative breast cancer refers to the fact that the cancer cells dont have estrogen or progesterone receptors and also dont make too much of the protein called HER2. These cancers tend to be more common in women younger than age 40, who are African American, or who have a BRCA1 mutation.
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Finding The New Normal As A Triple
Two years ago, Brianna Hinojosa-Flores was a 41-year-old mother of two who had just been diagnosed with a cancer thats tough to beat triple-negative breast cancer. Today shes back at work as an attorney, serves on her local City Council, enjoys time with her family, and shares her experience with other women who have been diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer at an early age.Triple-negative breast cancer is an aggressive type of cancer that does not respond to targeted drug therapies such as Tamoxifen, raloxifene , or Herceptin. It is associated with the BRCA gene and can affect women of any ethnicity, though it is more common in African-Americans. Women diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer have a poorer short-term prognosis than those diagnosed with other breast cancer types.
Stages Of Breast Cancer
The stage of breast cancer is based on the size and location of the tumor, as well as whether the cancer has spread beyond the part of the breast in which it originated. To determine the stage of breast cancer, healthcare professionals use a scale of stage 0 to stage 4.
Stage 0 breast cancers are isolated in one part of the breast, such as a duct or lobule, and show no sign of spreading into other tissue.
Stage 1 is typically localized, although further local growth or spread may cause the cancer to move into stage 2.
In stage 3, the cancer may be larger and has affected the lymph system. Stage 4 cancer has spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes, and into other organs and tissues of the body.
In addition to stages, breast cancers are given grades based on the size, shape, and activity of the cells in the tumor. A higher-grade cancer means a greater percentage of cells look and act abnormal, or they no longer resemble normal, healthy cells.
On a scale of 1 to 3, with 3 being the most serious, TNBC is often labeled grade 3.
American Cancer Society , the symptoms of TNBC can be the same as those for other types of breast cancer. ACS recommends regular screenings such as mammograms to detect breast cancer before symptoms appear, the time when treatment is most effective.
Other signs of breast cancer include:
Any of these signs can be caused by other conditions. But it is always good to have them checked out by your healthcare professional.
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Taking Care Of Yourself
After your treatment is over, your doctor will want to see you often to make sure the cancer doesn’t return. For the first 3 years, you’ll likely see them every 3 to 6 months. For 2 years after that, you’ll probably visit every 6 to 12 months. Once you’ve been cancer-free for 6 years, you’ll probably go back only once a year. Tell the doctor right away if you get any new symptoms or if you have pain or other problems that relate to your breasts.
What Happens If Breast Cancer Spreads To The Brain
The brain is a common site for breast cancer to metastasize, or spread, to. Brain metastasis can lead to symptoms like headache, weakness in your limbs, and seizures. Imaging with a head MRI is the main way that doctors diagnose brain metastases. Treatment approaches may be local, systemic, or a combination of both.
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An Unexpected Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Health has always been at the forefront for Shalena. She earned degrees in public health and nutrition, and currently works for a healthcare technology company.
Because she lost her father to colon cancer when she was 34, she has been vigilant about routine checkups and screenings. She maintains a healthy diet, works out and has undergone genetic testing for cancer, receiving clear results for all cancer markers.
She planned to schedule a mammogram at the recommended age of 40. In October 2013, at age 38, plans changed when her fiancé noticed a lump in 1 breast. Her primary care physician referred her to Jamie Wagner, DO, a breast surgeon with The University of Kansas Cancer Center.
Dr. Wagner noticed some irregularity in the mass and ordered additional tests.
At that point, I began to worry pretty severely, Shalena says. Her suspicion was based on very good experience. Time just sort of stood still. This was not something I felt like I would be facing at my age.
The diagnosis was stage 2A metaplastic triple-negative breast cancer, a very rare and aggressive form of cancer. About 10%-20% of breast cancers are triple negative, and fewer than 2% are metaplastic. These cancers are more difficult to treat and have a poorer prognosis.
New Therapies For Triple
According to experts, triple-negative can be a very treatable and potentially curable type of breast cancer, especially with recent research advances. Treatment of triple-negative breast cancer involves both local therapies, such as surgery and radiation, and can also include systemic therapies, like chemotherapy. Thanks to research in recent years, another category of medications is available, known as immunotherapy, where medicines help stimulate the immune system to destroy cancer cells. This category of medication is used with chemotherapy and is used depending on factors, such as the stage of the cancer.
New discoveries, such as immunotherapy, are starting to change the previous beliefs that triple-negative breast cancer is untreatable, experts say.
The introduction of immunotherapy into the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer may be a game changer.
“We are incredibly gratified to see that offering immunotherapy before surgery not only helps to do a better job killing the cancer cells, but also seems to help prevent the cancer from coming back, which may help people live longer,” said Mayer. “So the introduction of immunotherapy into the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer may be a game changer.”
“It’s also important to be aware of one’s body and notice any changes, pointing them out to one’s doctor if they arise,” Mayer said.
At 32 She Faced Rare Triple
This post is available in: Spanish
Surreal is the word Jessica Duemig uses to describe the news that changed her life. I was 32 with no family history of breast cancer. The diagnosis was such a mind-boggling thing, she recalls. I knew that so much was going to change and it was just total overload.
A stabbing pain in her left breast one morning first alerted Ms. Duemig that something was wrong. Then, a small bump shed written off as an ingrown hair began to enlarge quickly. A biopsy revealed she had stage 2a triple-negative metaplastic breast cancer. Her doctors told her it is very rare. It only makes up about 1 percent of all breast cancers out there. Its something that, thankfully, I caught when I did, she says.
With any patient presenting with breast cancer, were always going for cure. That was our goal for Jessica, says Starr Mautner, M.D., breast surgeon at Miami Cancer Institute. We were able to determine that this was still considered early stage cancer, although it was aggressive and needed to be treated aggressively. I told her we were going to do everything in our power to cure this cancer.
Making Major Life Decisions
Facing a double mastectomy and eight rounds of chemotherapy, Ms.Duemig found herself confronted by major life decisions she had to make almostimmediately.
HelpingOthers Via Social Media
Giving Hope To Patients With Triple
Triple-negative breast cancer is usually treated with some combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Unlike other subtypes of cancer, triple-negative tumors do not have targeted agents that can be used in the early setting. With ongoing research trials and new treatments, TNBC is becoming a treatable breast cancer with increased survival rates, giving hope to patients with this diagnosis.
Residual Disease: Adjuvant Treatment Intensification
The risk of disease recurrence after anthracycline/taxane chemotherapy ranges from approximately 10% in patients with stage I disease and up to 25%-50% in patients with stage III disease.68 These high rates of disease recurrence after standard chemotherapy have driven several trials aimed at investigating adjuvant treatment intensification. Given that capecitabine is known to have activity in metastatic TNBC, several trials have investigated adjuvant treatment intensification with this agent.
Survival Rates For Triple
Triple-negative breast cancer is considered an aggressive cancer because it grows quickly, is more likely to have spread at the time its found, and is more likely to come back after treatment than other types of breast cancer. The outlook is generally not as good as it is for other types of breast cancer.
Survival rates can give you an idea of what percentage of people with the same type and stage of cancer are still alive a certain amount of time after they were diagnosed. They cant tell you how long you will live, but they may help give you a better understanding of how likely it is that your treatment will be successful.
Keep in mind that survival rates are estimates and are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had a specific cancer, but they cant predict what will happen in any particular persons case. These statistics can be confusing and may lead you to have more questions. Talk with your doctor about how these numbers may apply to you, as they are familiar with your situation.
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Where Do These Numbers Come From
The American Cancer Society relies on information from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program database, maintained by the National Cancer Institute , to provide survival statistics for different types of cancer.
The SEER database tracks 5-year relative survival rates for breast cancer in the United States, based on how far the cancer has spread. The SEER database, however, does not group cancers by AJCC TNM stages . Instead, it groups cancers into localized, regional, and distant stages:
- Localized: There is no sign that the cancer has spread outside of the breast.
- Regional: The cancer has spread outside the breast to nearby structures or lymph nodes.
- Distant: The cancer has spread to distant parts of the body such as the lungs, liver, or bones.