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Topic: What does triple negative mean?

Forum: Triple-Negative Breast Cancer —

Share with others who have ER-/PR-/HER2- breast cancer.

Posted on: Mar 27, 2011 11:27PM - edited Mar 28, 2011 12:13AM by chrisser

chrisser wrote:

My best friend B was diagnosed in October of last year. Her "mass" was measured @ 7mm X 6mm. After 6 rounds of Taxotere she had a double mastectomy and the surgeon said her lymph nodes (she took 4) had scar tissue as did her breast. The pathology report indicated that the mass shrunk to the size of a pin prick. We are somewhat clueless about what to expect from here on out. I know that sounds silly at this point, but we (our families) can't seem to wrap our brains around what triple negative cancer means...BTW, she is 36.

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Mar 27, 2011 11:43PM chrisser wrote:

-Also, her doc wouldn't "stage" her. I'm not sure why, but he tried to get us off of that subject. Is that normal?

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Mar 27, 2011 11:51PM MJsMom wrote:

It refers to whether the tumor has the receptors for estrogen, progesterone and HER2. Each tumor is unique and the information will be in the pathology report. The most successful treatments target these receptors, sometimes with hormonals or Herceptin, but they are not indicated for triple negatives. TNBC can also be more aggressive and tends to recur more quickly. My recurrence came just two years from my initial diagnosis (at which time I was 49); not only was the cancer back in the form of a new tumor, but it had metastasized.

The lack of receptors can make the cancer more difficult to treat. I am a triple negative and am told that chemotherapy is really my only option. That being said, the disease also responds well to chemotherapy in many cases. 

My first oncologist did not seem to consider my case special in any way and delivered what he later defended as the "standard of care" for my diagnosis. I think your friend should educate herself about what being triple negative means, there are many sources of information, and don't hesitate to get a second or even a third opinion. If I had it to do over I would have found an oncologist to treat me as aggressively as possible. It might not have made a difference, or it might have changed everything. I will never know, but I am now in a fight for my life. 

I wish her well, she may find this forum a great source of information, camaraderie and comfort. I know that I do.

Dx 7/15/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Mar 28, 2011 12:04AM chrisser wrote:

Thank you MJsMoM! Her surgeon said that the oncologist did a great job and was very aggressive. She is worried it will come back after all of this hard work. What about radiation?

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Apr 4, 2011 03:12AM yellowdoglady wrote:

The only tools currently available for triple negative breast cancer are chemotherapy and radiation,but they work very well.  Usually, we get both to the extent they are safe for us.  The oncologist needs to decide if further chemo is warranted, and if radiation should be done.

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Apr 17, 2011 11:43PM karebear113 wrote:

MJsMom - I feel that my mom's oncologist is also considering it "standard case".  I just feel like it isn't. Should I be concerned that my oncologist is only giving my mom 4 treatments of chemo?

Dx 2/2/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Apr 18, 2011 12:20AM mrsnjband wrote:

I had inflammatory breast cancer but it wasn't until another theacher at my school got TripleNeg BC did I began to understand what that meant.  1. Estrogren resceptors negative, 2.Progesterogen receptors negative 3. Heur2 reseptors negative; thus Triple negative.  Through this event I learned I had both Inflammatory & triple negative bc.  Both aggressive & rare.  It does respond well to treatment anf you have to take any hormons after treatment is over.  But it also has a hgher rarte of reoccurrance. I am now out 3 1/2 years.  ;

Norma June, Bi-lateral MX 2008, Bi-lateral DIEP 2011 Dx 1/10/2008, IBC, <1cm, Stage IIIB, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 1/24/2008 AC Chemotherapy 3/9/2008 Taxol (paclitaxel) Chemotherapy 5/28/2008 Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 7/9/2008 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 8/10/2008 Surgery 8/14/2011 Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Surgery 8/14/2011 Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap Surgery 12/11/2011 Reconstruction (left)
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Apr 18, 2011 12:30AM sagina wrote:

Norma June~ I know this is a small world, but you so look like a friend of mine, Karen.  She passed away this year.  Seeing your picture made me smile.Smile
Gina Dx 10/13/2010, IDC, 4cm, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 11/2/2010 AT Surgery 3/15/2011 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Radiation Therapy 4/19/2011

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