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Topic: Is triple negative breast cancer curable?

Forum: Triple-Negative Breast Cancer —

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

Posted on: Sep 15, 2013 06:18AM - edited Sep 15, 2013 06:19AM by latoya81

latoya81 wrote:

I am asking because I came across this article that a woman named Karin Kloosterman had written where she claims that TNBC is not curable. It also states that women with triple negative breast cancer die within 7-8 years after diagnoses. Here is the link to the article. Is this information true?


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Sep 15, 2013 07:10AM chrissyb wrote:

Latoya, I'm sad to say even with out reading from you linked article that no BC Is curable. It is possible to be in remission for many years but there is no cure. It doesn't matter is the cancer is TN or any other.

Statistics are just numbers and should be treated as such and each woman who develops BC should never be treated as a statistic as we are all individuals and so is our BC.

Love n hugs. Chrissy

I found my peace which gave me strength. 52 at dx. Dx 12/8/2003, IDC, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, 0/12 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 15, 2013 08:24AM tibet wrote:

I read triple negative bc has a different recurrence pattern than other types. It recurrs usually during first 3 yrs and decreases there after. The article you posted here, I do not think its that accurate. Maybe there meant stage 4 triple negative usually die within 7 yrs?

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Sep 15, 2013 07:53PM latoya81 wrote:

@Chrissyb, you and the article state that breast cancer is not curable, I wonder why wasn't I told this from my doctors.  I was told from my radiation oncologist that I may never get cancer again.

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Sep 15, 2013 08:13PM Moderators wrote:

This article may help with this issue:


How Long Until Considered Cancer-Free?

Last modified on September 17, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Question: How long must a woman survive after breast cancer to be considered cancer-free or cured?

Answer: According to the National Cancer Institute, the five-year survival rate for non-metastatic breast cancer (breast cancer that has not spread beyond the breast) is 80%. Newspapers and television usually translate that to, "If you've survived for five years, you're cancer-free."

This is a bit misleading. It's true that during the first five years, the risk of recurrence is highest. But breast cancer can recur even after five years. The important point to know is that the more time passes, the lower the risk of recurrence becomes.

The chance of surviving breast cancer depends on MANY different factors taken together. Lymph node involvement has a strong influence on prognosis. The more lymph nodes involved, the more serious the cancer. Some of the other factors that affect outcome are your general health, the size of the cancer, hormone receptor status, growth rate, tumor grade, and HER2/neu status. Learn more about all of these factors in our section onUnderstanding Your "Big Picture."

Even with the best information, no one can predict the future. Each of us is unique, and how each woman's body and mind handle breast cancer and treatment is truly a mystery. Many women have beat the odds, while other women "sure to do well" somehow didn't. You just have to do the best you can, with the best team of doctors and nurses that you can assemble, together with your support network. Then focus on the power of your mind, and you can experience the momentum you need to move through treatment and beyond.

The good news is that more and more women are living longer than five years past breast cancer as a result of early detection, more effective breast cancer therapy, and better overall medical care.

To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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Sep 15, 2013 10:24PM tibet wrote:

This applies to bc as a whole but for triple negative it is different . As it recurrs earlier than other types but after 5 yrs it's rare to recurr than other types. And its said, after 8 yrs a triple negative can be consudered cured. Is it true, moderate? I hope other long triple negative survivors can add more here as this topic was discussed on this forum before and I can't find the articles some survivors pasted here

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Sep 15, 2013 10:28PM tibet wrote:

I found some one posted this : One thing about triple negative is the tumor does tend to grow fast. It is an aggressive cancer. That being said, that is why the chemo generally works so well. The chemo is designed to kill fast growing cells. That is also why your hair comes out. They are fast growing cells. I would rather have TN than have positive receptors any day. Once we make it to the 2 year mark, chance for recurrence drops dramatically. Once we make it to the 5 year mark, we are at the same level with the positives who have taken tamoxifen for five years. After the 5 year mark, we are back in the normal population of women who have the 1in 8 chance of having breast cancer. According to the researchers, not one has seen a recurrence in TN women who have made it to the 8 year mark. So, yes, I would rather have TN over positive receptors any day. Women with positive receptors have to worry about recurrence for the rest of their lives, or until the cure finally comes. Some have been cancer free for 20 years and then have a recurrence. Don't be afraid that you got negative receptors instead of positive receptors. If we just HAD to have bc...I truly think WE got the better deal.

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Sep 15, 2013 11:31PM latoya81 wrote:

It seems to me that the article is saying that breast cancer is not curable. I jus give up hope. I know I'm going to eventually die from this disease.  I'm at a point I just don't give a damn anymore.

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Sep 15, 2013 11:32PM exbrnxgrl wrote:

Ah, Tibet, I don't think any of us got the better deal.

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole)
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Sep 16, 2013 03:02AM netty46 wrote:

Tibet where are these researchers looking? There are plenty on this site alone who have past the 8 yr mark. Myself being one. I past 12.

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Sep 16, 2013 03:55AM FireKracker wrote:

Very interesting.
I'm doin research for one of the sistas who is having a very hard time with this TN..she had a reoccurrence last year (after 2yrs.clear)and cannot comprehend anything.
They keep changing her chemo and she feels sick all the time
Right now she is fighting a UTI that's draining .
Netty you bring hope here.Thank you.
Any more info is greatly appreciated.
Your sista

Focktober!!!!Pink stinks!!!!
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Sep 16, 2013 05:33AM Beesie wrote:

latoya, it's true that generally it's said that the disease of breast cancer is not curable. But patients who have breast cancer can be cured. There is a big difference between talking about the disease as a whole vs. talking about an individual patient.

Breast cancer is a complex disease. There are many different types of breast cancer, including IDC, ILC, IBC, triple negative, HER2+, ER+/PR+, etc..  There is unfortunately no single 'silver bullet' treatment that can be given to every patient to ensure that they survive. That's why it's said that there is no cure.  But what we do have are a bunch of different treatments that are given in different combinations to each patient, depending on her diagnosis.  Most of the time those treatments work, but sometimes they don't.

When the treatments work, the patient is cured. There is just one little hitch, however.  Even when the patient is cured, there is no way to know this for sure. This is because breast cancer can recur even years after an initial diagnosis (although this is significantly less likely for triple negative cancers where most recurrences occur within the first few years).  So someone who appears to be cancer-free for many years might have a recurrence further down the road. That doesn't happen often, but it can happen. So that risk is always there.  And that's the other reason why it's said that there is no cure.  Because it's impossible for a doctor to ever know for sure that his or her patient has been cured - there is no test that can tell us this. But still, the further out a patient is from her diagnosis and treatment, the less likely it is that she will have a recurrence, and the more likely it is that she has been cured.  And this is particularly true for those who have triple negative BC, whose risk of recurrence becomes almost negligible after just the first few years.

So please don't give up hope and don't assume that you will die of breast cancer.  Most women who are diagnosed with breast cancer do not die of breast cancer but instead go on to live long full lives.

Dx 9/15/05, DCIS-MI, 6cm+ Gr3 DCIS w/IDC microinvasion, Stage IA, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR- “No power so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” Edmund Burke
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Sep 16, 2013 09:53AM - edited Sep 16, 2013 09:56AM by tibet

Agree with Bessie.

The point I posted that old post from a triple negative survior before is that she read that research pointing out there had not been a reported recurrence of TN after 8 yrs. For ER + BC, recurrence can happen after 20 yrs.

If a recurrence happens with TN, it happens usually earlier during first 3 yrs as it is aggressive. If a TN has had a recurrence after 8 yrs, it is possible but very rare they say. And for those had lumpecturmy, one doesn't know if it is a new primary or recurrence of the original one, as there is no way to see each cell in the same site. So they say if it happens in the same site,with same receptor, it then considered as a recurrence. Sorry I am only trying to cheer us all up and trying to think positive, hence pasted that old post from a long term TP survior Cin 56. Maybe she can jump in and say sth here.

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Sep 16, 2013 06:31PM netty46 wrote:

I did recur though after 12 yrs in the same breast. I recurred June 2012.

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Sep 19, 2013 02:26AM latoya81 wrote:

@netty46, I read in another post where you had stated that your doctors was calling your second diagnoses with breast cancer a new primary not a recurence.

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Sep 19, 2013 04:54AM netty46 wrote:

Latoya yes there was a debate there for a while but my mo says recurrence.

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Sep 19, 2013 08:40AM anamerty wrote:

My first breast cancer almost 14 years ago was hormone positive. I believe that one was cured. I developed bc again one year ago triple negative it was a new primary , this one may not be cured as there is a suspicious rib been monitored triple negative and I also have brca1 its a bitch

Dx 1/25/1999, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 1/25/1999 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy 3/1/1999 Breast, Lymph nodes Dx 8/3/2012, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/7 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 8/27/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 10/15/2012 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Sep 20, 2013 05:24AM latoya81 wrote:

@anamerty, I am sorry you are having to deal with breast cancer again.

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Sep 20, 2013 05:51AM - edited Sep 20, 2013 05:51AM by latoya81

@Netty46, Sorry to sound stupid, but what do you mean by your mo?

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Sep 20, 2013 06:06AM wrenn wrote:

Medical oncologist. Chemo doc. :) i didn't know that one either

Metaplastic IDC Triple negative...Tumour is 1.5cm. BMX Aug. 16th. Chemo cancelled after one dose due to complications. Dx 7/25/2013, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 8/16/2013 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 11/25/2013 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Jan 11, 2014 10:27PM Normandee wrote:

When I went for my first appointments with my Oncologist and Surgeon at a Hospital of Excellence for cancer I was told "we are going for cure in early breast cancer". They didn't guarantee it but nonetheless that message gave me optimism that my cancer may not recur.  Although cancer itself is not curable your body may be cured of it, if that makes sense!

Look to the sun and the shadows will fall behind you. Dx 2/28/2012, IDC, 3cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 1/14 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 3/26/2012 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 8/5/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right
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Jan 11, 2014 11:17PM Curlylocks wrote:

I had estrogen positive breast cancer 8 years ago at age 41, stage 2b (early stage).  I was told by my oncologist I would probably never have to deal with this disease again....well....here I am again.....

I had a prophy mast with reconstruction on Dec 16/13 due to two sisters diagnosed with bc in the past three years.  

My pathlogy revealed a new 1cm Primary Invasive tumour, this time Triple Negative...same breast.

What a kick in the gut!

I have always been a very positive person but the reality for most is that there is no cure for breast cancer. We hope to remain in remission.  Enjoy your life each and every day!


Dx 10/23/2005, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 3/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/9/2005 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 12/5/2005 AC + T (Taxol) Hormonal Therapy 5/1/2006 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 6/1/2006 Breast Surgery 5/3/2008 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery 12/16/2013 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Dx 1/9/2014, IDC, <1cm, Grade 1, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 2/11/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Jan 12, 2014 03:18AM - edited Jan 12, 2014 07:50AM by JaneB1

When I met with my MO following surgery, she said that because my DCIS turned out to be invasive, there is no cure. She was very clear on that point. She told me, "Even with chemotherapy, I can never get you to zero risk."  She told me my risk of distant recurrence was very low but certainly was not zero. Dh and I were very surprised. We naively had thought if I went through chemo, I would be cured. 

My second opinion MO, a world renown specialist in Europe reiterated what another poster stated:  that TN is significantly more dangerous in the short term, but that the risk of distant recurrence drops significantly 3 years after treatment. He then said the good news for TNs is that after 5 years, our risk of recurrence returns to that of the general population of women who have never had BC.  He said this is a very different risk profile from that of ER/PR+ cancer which carries a lifetime risk of distant recurrence. 

Dx 3/22/2012, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 4/16/2012 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Surgery 9/10/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right)
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Jan 12, 2014 03:50AM maywin wrote:

 I am eleven year out from my diagnosis. Never worry about it.

Dx 2/25/2003, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/14 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jan 12, 2014 04:28AM Titan wrote:

My onc told me that he would like to tell me that I'm cured but that he just can't...there are some cancers that are curable but breast cancer is not one of those...he did tell me that he thought that I would be ok...and I'm running with that....

Dx 3/18/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jul 17, 2017 02:45AM klmk1974 wrote:

You are sadly misinformed . Triple - has a much worse prognosis than all other BC except inflammatory . I was dx with stage 3 IDC triple - that spread to my lymph nodes a year ago in February . My radiology oncologist was the inly Dr who told me he thought he could cure me . When i asked after my last treatment ast November he told me I had to make it 3 years cancer free and then we would talk about remissions . Chemo is all wwe have . There is no targeted treatment . If it comes back my only option is trials

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Jul 17, 2017 02:22PM VL22 wrote:

TNBC had a poorer prognosis - not a much worse one.

Dx 5/5/2017, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/15/2017 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Dx 6/23/2017, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 1/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 8/10/2017 AC + T (Taxol)
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Oct 22, 2017 05:03PM karentwriter wrote:

I understand the sentiment of the poster. Especially, if it's new information. I'm still scared and was told they got the whole tumor and even the 8mm of invasive cancer. Chemo will start soon, but was told that with or without chemo my prognosis is very good, but due to my age and triple receptors they want to do chemo and radiation. I will do what I have to to try and survive. Smoking will be the hard thing to quit, but I also read a few articles that state that calorie restriction has proven to have positive effects on triple negative breast cancer and either recurrence or metastasis or both.

I'm still terrified, and not looking forward to being bald at my wedding. I do understand the hopelessness when reading some things on line, but I would take these concerns to your oncologist or surgeon. I think overall, as another poster said, the odds with or without triple negative are pretty good.

Don't give up. Find survival stories on line as well. I bet there are vastly more of those than the other.

Dx 9/28/2017, DCIS/IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 10/10/2017 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 11/6/2017 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 3/14/2018 Breast
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Oct 29, 2017 05:18AM Meggy wrote:

They don't like to use the word cured because they don't really know if it will come back. For some people, though, it never comes back. I call that cured. When I was first diagnosed, the head of the Stanford BC center said to me, "We might even cure you." There's just no magic cure date.

Triple Negative IDC Neoadjuvant chemo 2/08 of 4 dosedense A/C then 4 Taxol, Bilat 6/08, then 2 more AC, then 4 Carbo/Taxotere Node Positive (5+) exact number unknown due to neoadjuvant chemo, then Rads Dx 1/9/2008, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 2/2/2008 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 5/10/2008 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 6/4/2008 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 9/10/2008 Breast, Lymph nodes Dx
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Oct 31, 2017 05:53PM JoAnn_K wrote:

My mom had a recurrence 7 years after her initial diagnosis and died within 3 weeks of diagnosis. Scary stuff.

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Nov 9, 2017 07:00AM yellowdoglady wrote:

Well, folks, I was told the mostly the same things. TNBC is a nasty devil and can kill you fast. BUT it is more easily killed than the ordinary sorts. So I threw the book at it. And on November 26th, I'll be a 9 year survivor. I remember sweating through the first year and a half because that was the most likely time for recurrence. Then suffering until I passed the three year mark, which was said to be big. Then the five year, after which it is beyond unlikely to recur. But outliers occur, so seven years was big too. But my oncologist was very clear after five years with clean labs and scans, that I had killed that bugger well and truly and should not worry any more. Except that I need to watch so I don't miss growing another.

Cure is a possible thing my friends. It won't immunize you from a future tumor, but the upside of TNBC is that you won't see the same thing coming back at you in 15 years. If it does, it is a new thing.

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