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What Does Triple Negative Breast Cancer Mean

What Is The Staging Of Triple

How Is Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Treated?

Staging is the process of determining the extent of cancer and its spread in the body. Together with the type of cancer, staging helps determine the appropriate therapy and predict the chances for survival.

To determine if cancer has spread, medical professionals may use several different imaging techniques, including X-ray, CT scans, bone scans, and PET scans. Staging depends upon the size of a tumor and the extent to which it spread to lymph nodes or distant sites and organs in the body. Examination of lymph nodes removed at surgery and the results of ER, PR, and HER2 tests performed on the tumor tissue also help determine the stage of a tumor.

  • The American Cancer Society defines 4 stages of breast cancer.
  • Stage I is the lowest stage, while stage IV is the highest stage and refers to tumors that have metastasized, or spread to areas distant from the breast.

Most doctors specifically adjust breast cancer treatments to the type of cancer and the staging group.


Many women with breast cancer will require surgery. Broadly, the surgical therapies for breast cancer consist of breast-conserving surgery and mastectomy .

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy destroys cancer cells with high-energy rays. Doctors commonly administer radiation therapy to patients after breast cancer surgery, most commonly after lumpectomy.


Types of chemotherapy include the following:

Other therapies for triple-negative breast cancer

Do You Need Chemo For Grade 3 Breast Cancer

I too am in a similar situation and waiting to hear what my treatment will be, due 2nd OP next week, generic test underway to help decide if chemo is necessary as previous tests on tumour said I was borderline. 11mm and grade 3 with clear lymph nodes and margins. Im 49.

Grading breast cancer cells Three cancer cell features are studied and each is assigned a score. The scores are then added to get a number between 3 and 9 that is used to get a grade of 1, 2, or 3, which is noted on your pathology report.

Also Check: Cancer Stage 3a

New Medications For Metastatic Breast Cancer

Immunotherapy drugs called checkpoint inhibitors have led to a significant improvement in survival rates for lung cancer and melanoma.

In 2019, Tecentriq became the first immunotherapy drug to be approved for triple-negative breast cancer that is metastatic or locally advanced but unresectable . However, in August 2021, Tecentriq’s manufacturer voluntarily withdrew that indication in the United States.

However, also in 2021, the Food and Drug Administration approved Keytruda for high-risk, early-stage, triple-negative breast cancer. It is used in combination with chemotherapy as a neoadjuvant treatment , and then continued as a single agent as adjuvant treatment .

PARP inhibitors are another class of medication that may alter survival rates in the future, particularly among women who have hereditary breast cancer .

For bone metastases, bone-modifying drugs may be effective in both treating metastases and possibly reducing the development of further metastases in bone.

Finally, for people who have only a single or a few metastases , treating these metastases locally may be an option. While studies are young, treating oligometastases may improve survival or even lead to long-term survival for a minority of people.

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Is Triple Negative Breast Cancer An Aggressive Form Of Cancer

Its true that triple negative breast cancers can grow quickly. But your prognosis or expected outcome depends on more factors than your cancer subtype. Healthcare providers will also consider your tumors size and whether it has spread to your lymph nodes and other parts of your breast. Its also helpful to know researchers are focusing on ways to slow the spread of TNBC.

Survival Rate For Patients With Triple

Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Triple-negative breast cancer is considered aggressive, or fast-growing, but it is treatable. Survival depends on factors such as how advanced the cancer was at diagnosis, your overall health, and your response to treatment.

When assessing survival, researchers use a 5-year marker to make predictions about if cancer will reoccur.

According to the American Cancer Society, if any type of breast cancer is found to be stage 1, the 5-year survival rate is nearly 100%. Stage 2 breast cancer survival is about 93%, stage 3 is 72%, and metastasized or grade 4 breast cancer has about a 22% chance of survival. Keep in mind most triple-negative breast cancers are stage 3 when found.

Its important to note that the survival rates may be higher than this data suggests because new treatments are becoming available through clinical research.

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Can You Advise About The Use Of Topical Oestrogens In Women With Breast Cancer

The long-term risks of using topical oestrogen creams after breast cancer are still fairly unknown. Some studies have shown that the use of topical creams after the diagnosis of breast cancer should only be initiated in cases where the patient experiences a high degree of distress, and if it needs to be prescribed then an ultralow dosed formula should be used whenever possible in the first few weeks. Patients also need to be provided with the knowledge of increased risk of recurrence is possible.

There are non-hormonal alternatives that can be prescribed . Replens MD is a cream applied 23 times a week which binds to the vaginal wall and helps rehydrate cells as well as increasing blood flow in the vagina. There is also Hyalofemme that can be applied daily.

Treatment Of Early Tnbc

Early TNBC is aggressive, but it can be treated effectively. Its usually treated with some combination of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

TNBC isnt treated with hormone therapy or HER2-targeted therapy because its ER-negative and HER2-negative.

Learn about emerging areas in drug therapies for early breast cancer.

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Triple Negative Breast Cancer Stages

Triple negative breast cancer stages are assigned based on the extent of the cancer at the time of diagnosis, including the size of the tumor and whether it has spread to other areas of the body. Approximately 15% of all breast cancer cases are classified as triple negative, or hormone receptor negative, which means that the cancer cells lack receptors for estrogen, progesterone and HER-2/neu hormones. While triple negative breast cancers are sometimes treated differently than hormone-receptor-positive cancers, the staging process is the same for all types of cancer.

Treatment Options For Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Your Healthy Family: What is triple negative breast cancer?

Since triple negative breast cancer doesnt respond to targeted treatments used for other types of breast cancer, it raises complicated questions about treatment.

For now, experts typically rely on removing as much of the tumor as possible in addition to chemotherapy, according to the Mayo Clinic. Experts are testing immunotherapy options that may attack triple negative breast cancer tumors as well. Ongoing research could lead to new targeted treatments for triple negative breast cancer, Dr. Nanda says. If youre interested in learning more, you might consider speaking to your doctor about participating in a clinical trial, Dr. Mayer says.

No matter the treatment strategy that you and your doctor decide is best, self-care is an essentialand easy to overlookpart of dealing with triple negative breast cancer. Heres how four women with this condition practice self-care. They may give you a few ideas for coping, too.


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Study: New Genes Linked With Triple

A research study identified new genes that may be associated with a higher risk for triple-negative breast cancer.

This image is an example of the kind of gel pictures researchers use to understand the order, or sequence, of genes or to look for mutations in genes.

This image is an example of the kind of gel pictures researchers use to understand the order, or sequence, of genes or to look for mutations in genes.

Out of 100 people with breast cancer about 15 will have triple-negative breast cancer . Its one of the most challenging types of breast cancer to treat due to several things:

  • TNBC tends to be more aggressive than other common types of breast cancer.
  • Women usually dont learn they have it until the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body .
  • Treatment options remain limited. Hormone therapies and targeted therapies that help treat people with some types of breast cancer, typically dont work for a woman with TNBC. Doctors use chemotherapy to treat these patients, but it isnt very effective and may have side effects.

If doctors had a way to identify women at risk for TNBC, they might be able to find cancer earlier and before it spreads when it might be easier to treat. And, if doctors had a way to personalize treatment for women with TNBC, they might be able to improve a womans outlook . One approach researchers are using to identify women at risk for TNBC and possible treatment options for TNBC is by studying inherited changes in cancer genes.

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.

Read Also: What Is Stage 4 Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Gene Mutations

Everyone has BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which we get from our mother and father. When they work properly, these genes prevent the development of cancers. But only a small percentage of people with breast cancer are born with a mutation, a change in DNA, in BRCA1 or BRCA2.

If you are born with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, you are at increased risk for developing breast, ovarian and other cancers throughout your life. The BRCA1 mutation puts you at higher risk for developing a basal-like breast cancer. Scientists are still trying to find out why BRCA1 mutations increase the risk of developing triple-negative breast cancer. Keep in mind, not all breast cancers from BRCA mutations are triple negative. In fact, BRCA2 mutations are more likely to be present in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer.

How Is Tnbc Diagnosed

Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Imaging tests are usually the first tests done:

  • Mammography, the most common screening tool for breast cancer, uses X-rays to take images of the breast and can uncover tumors that may be too small to feel.
  • MRI uses a magnet, radio waves and a computer to make detailed images of the breast with a much greater resolution than a mammogram offers.

The next step is a biopsy to remove a sample of suspicious cells from the breast to analyze them. Techniques include:

The appropriate type of biopsy for you depends on factors such as the size and location of the tumor. You may also have a biopsy of your underarm lymph nodes at the same time to see if any cancer is there.

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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.

How Is Triple Negative Breast Cancer Different From The Other Types Of Breast Cancer

  • Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma is the most prevalent kind of invasive breast cancer, accounting for 70% of invasive lesions. These lesions are characterized by cords and nests of cells with variable gland development and cytologic characteristics ranging from benign to extremely malignant.
  • Infiltrating Lobular Carcinoma accounts for approximately 8% of all invasive breast cancers. They are characterized microscopically by tiny cells that enter the mammary stroma and adipose tissue singly and in a single-file arrangement.
  • The Mixed Ductal/Lobular Carcinoma has ductal and lobular characteristics and is classified as mixed invasive carcinoma. These account for 7% of invasive breast cancers.
  • Other Histologic Types Metaplastic, mucinous, tubular, medullary, and papillary carcinomas are also metaplastic, mucinous, tubular, and medullary carcinomas. They collectively account for less than 5% of invasive malignancies.

Molecular Subtypes The following molecular subtypes have been identified based on gene expression profiles.

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Breast Cancer And Test Results: Is A Positive Really A Negative

I recently received the following text: âHi! My friend just came back with a double negative on her breast cancer . What does that mean?â

When a patient is faced with the shock and worry associated with breast cancer, there are many issues to face and decisions to be made. The last thing she needs is to be confused by the results of diagnostic tests. Sometimes a âpositiveâ or ânegativeâ test result can be confusing because itâs not always clear if it is good or bad news. Your doctor might, for example, tell you that a test result is positive, which gives you the false impression that itâs a good outcome. Similarly, when a result is negative, it sounds bad when it could in fact be good news. Itâs important that you fully understand the implications of any test results, but particularly ones in which the results can be ambiguous.

There are basically two types of medical test results:

âRelativeâ results: These provide information about how the levels of certain substances compare to those that are considered within a healthy range by the medical community. A blood test would fall in this category.

Letâs decode some results of tests associated with breast cancer:

Positive Biopsy: Not good. This means that the biopsy of the suspicious area on a mammogram or ultrasound is a pre-cancer or cancer.

How Does Breast Cancer Spread

Video: What is triple negative breast cancer?

As was mentioned above, breast cancer can spread to distant areas of the body. How exactly does this happen? First, some of the cancerous cells break away from the original tumor. Then, they attach themselves to the outer wall of either a blood vessel or a lymph vessel. Once the cancer cells penetrate this outer wall, they can begin flowing with blood or lymphatic fluid and eventually reach another organ or lymph node.

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What Should A Person With Stage 3 Breast Cancer Expect From Treatment

Stage 3 treatment options vary widely and may consist of mastectomy and radiation for local treatment and hormone therapy or chemotherapy for systemic treatment. Nearly every person with a Stage 3 diagnosis will do best with a combination of two or more treatments.

Chemotherapy is always given first with the goal to shrink the breast cancer to be smaller within the breast and within the lymph nodes that are affected. This is known as neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

Other possible treatments include biologic targeted therapy and immunotherapy. There may be various clinical trial options for interested patients with Stage 3 breast cancer.

Signs And Symptoms To Know

The signs and symptoms of triple-negative breast cancer are the same as with all breast cancers. It may present as a lump, which is more commonly hard, painless and irregular, but can also be soft, round and painful. Other signs include:

  • Breast swelling
  • A nipple that turns inward
  • Skin changes on the breast or nipple, including redness, dryness, thickening or flaking

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What Is Triple Negative Breast Cancer

A diagnosis of triple negative breast cancer means that the three most common types of receptors known to fuel most breast cancer growthestrogen, progesterone, and the HER-2/neu gene are not present in the cancer tumor. This means that the breast cancer cells have tested negative for hormone epidermal growth factor receptor 2 , estrogen receptors , and progesterone receptors .

Since the tumor cells lack the necessary receptors, common treatments like hormone therapy and drugs that target estrogen, progesterone, and HER-2 are ineffective. Using chemotherapy to treat triple negative breast cancer is still an effective option. In fact, triple negative breast cancer may respond even better to chemotherapy in the earlier stages than many other forms of cancer.

Asco: Pembrolizumab Plus Chemotherapy For Advanced Triple

Triple Negative Breast Cancer
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