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All TopicsForum: High Risk of Recurrence or Second Breast Cancer → Topic: Chemo for triple negative breast cancer

Topic: Chemo for triple negative breast cancer

Forum: High Risk of Recurrence or Second Breast Cancer — Managing high recurrence risk of developing a second breast cancer.

Posted on: Mar 8, 2011 10:43PM

lilyrose wrote:

Can someone advise me what percentage risk exists if one decides to forgo chemotherapy instead of undertaking it when they have Triple negative breast cancer Stage IIB grade 3.  My thoughts at present are that if I'm on this planet for a short time I want it to be a good time not a time being pumped up with poisons with only a slightly greater chance of survival for a longer period.  Can anyone also advise me what the median life expectancy is for people with my type of breast cancer.  I don't plan on popping my clogs in the near future with or without chemo but I must admit the more I read about the side effects of chemo the less I'm inclined to go there.  

Dx 9/30/2010, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 2/22 nodes, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Mar 8, 2011 10:49PM HeidiToo wrote:

There are a lot of gals in here with TNBC and very few that have not gone through chemo. Since, as I'm sure you know, there is no targeted therapy for TNBC beyond chemo and rads most women want to throw everything they can at it to improve their odds at survival.

It's late, and I'm not one for lengthy post writing but I'm sure others will chime in soon. I would never attempt to argue the "quality vs. quantity" discussion with anyone. I know what I want---- quantity, no doubt about it.

I breezed through chemo, but it is different for everyone.

" It's not the years in your life, but the life in your years." (Abe Lincoln) Dx 8/11/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 9/9/2009 Lumpectomy: Right; Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Chemotherapy 10/26/2009 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 1/2/2010 Breast, Lymph nodes
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Mar 10, 2011 08:36AM sukie10 wrote:

I'm pretty new to this myself. The triple negative thing is really freaking me out also. I'm not sure of the odds but I am having chemo before surgery and I can tell you its working. My lump is less than half the size in just two weeks. I assume its doing its job on the rest of my body also. I feel like its mopping up a spill. The chemo itself hasn't been too bad. Its not nearly as bad as I first imagined. I get tired easily but that's about it. I still get out shopping and enjoy my grandchildren on good days, I'm going back to work in 2 weeks. I'm terrified of mets. I really believe we need to do as much as possible to fight this and chemo really does work. 

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Mar 10, 2011 09:08AM HeidiToo wrote:

Ladies--- this thread has not generated the replies I'd expected. Why don't you mosey on over to the "Calling all TNS" thread where most of us TNBC gals hang out? LOTS of good support there!

" It's not the years in your life, but the life in your years." (Abe Lincoln) Dx 8/11/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 9/9/2009 Lumpectomy: Right; Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Chemotherapy 10/26/2009 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 1/2/2010 Breast, Lymph nodes
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Mar 10, 2011 09:24AM dawn31337 wrote:

Your oncologist should be able to give you this information.  This is why we have physicians.  Lay people on these boards can't possibly predict YOUR chances.

My tumor was 2cm, and there is a model somewhere they use that can give the statistics you are looking for.  It includes tumor characteristics, your age, probably height/weight, personal info, etc.  I didn't see what was input, but for me, my Dr said without chemo I had a 48% chance of no recurrence in 5 years, and with chemo it jumped up to 75%.  Of course that is no guarantee of anything, it is just based on other people's outcomes. A 27 bp lift was a no brainer, so I did the chemo.  It isn't as bad as you think it is.  Hope this helps. ASK YOUR ONCOLOGIST!

IDC stage IIa 2cm,grade3,TN, 1/6 nodes. BLM 10/15/10,4xAC;4xdd T Done!!! BRCA1/2 neg TE exchange 4/12. DONE! Nipple 7/18, didn't heal right...new implant on left 8/17.New TE on left 8/24.Exchange 12/13.Good to know NED! Tattoo 6/21
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Mar 11, 2011 10:08PM echo-on-the-lake wrote:

lilyrose---Just wanted to add to what the other ladies have posted.  I was told that I had a 30% chance of a recurrence if I did not do the chemo.  With chemo, I could cut that down by half.  It was a no-brainer for me---I had the chemo. 

I'd also like to point out that your % of a recurrence would probably be a little higher as you had 2 neg. nodes----I didn't have any.  I would guess that you would be closer to dawn31337's %.  But only your oncologist would be able to give you a more accurate estimate for you. I'm surprised that he/she hasn't already done so.  Perhaps you haven't talked to an oncologist yet?

With node involvement, though, it would be wise to have the chemo just in case a piece might have broken off and is traveling in your blood system. The bad thing about trip neg is that it is a very aggressive and fast growing cancer and the chemo is the only thing we have to fight it. 

The chemo for early stage bc is quite doable. It's certainly not as intensive as Stage 3 or 4. You're only 'pumped up with poisons' for a very short time---a few months (maybe 6 w/node involvement) and you don't get it everyday for that entire length of time.  I had 4 rounds of chemo during a 3-month period and I'd have to say that I was 'under the weather' a total of less than a couple weeks spread out over that 3-month period.  I don't feel that I lost any quality of life.  Not anymore so than if you had the flu or a bad cold for a few weeks. It did give me a bit of relief knowing that I've done everything I can right now to prevent a recurrence. 

I'm assuming that the 'mets' you refer to in your bio are the node involvement? Because you couldn't be a Stage IIb if you had mets.

To be honest with you, if I had a positive receptor, being that I was early stage, I highly doubt that I would have had the chemo. But with trip neg, there's just no choice---not for me anyway.

You might want to check out the National Cancer Institute SEER stats. Here's a link to it:   seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html...   Perhaps you'll find what you're looking for here. But remember that these stats are based on old data from a few years back. There have been advances made in chemo drugs which may affect these stats. 

Good luck in your decision. Please let us know what you decide. There are lots of women on this board that will help you get thru the chemo if you chose that route.  

dx 3/2009, IDC, Stage I, Gr 3, 2 cm, neg nodes, Er-Pr-Her2-, TCx4, 33 rads
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Mar 16, 2011 02:10PM judylynn wrote:

Judy here.  I finished chemo in February.  I had very little trouble with the chemo.  Every one is different and you might not have many of the side effects they tell you about.  As a matter of fact, if I hadn't been retired, I could have worked throughout the chemo process.

Dx 8/26/2010, 5cm, Stage IIB, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jan 10, 2012 09:23PM BrandyB wrote:

I was cured with chemo. Let me repeat, I was cured with chemo. I had six months of chemo first and then my mastectomy and at the time of my mastectomy there was no disease found. It killed all of the cancer that was in my breast and there was quite a bit of it too.

Ive read that since I had no evidence of disease at the time of surgery that my odds are pretty great for survival. Chemo wasn't too bad and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

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Jan 10, 2012 09:48PM jenlee wrote:

A teacher at my daughter's school just celebrated her 5th year of being cancer-free.  She was triple negative and did chemo.

 I'm not triple negative, but because of the size of my tumor & high KI 67 (75%) chemo was recommended by several doctors.  The practice that I was with decided on lumpectomy with radiation -- I called one of the previous practices and begged them to take me back :)    Currently havin gneoadjutavant chemo and am planning for a BMX.  I was EXCITED to do chemo because I want to kill the tumor and also any "floaters" that might have gotten loose in my body.  Will also do radiation after if they let me.  I will be a lousy year, but I never want to have to look back and wish I'd done more.  If after all this, I get two or three years, at least I did everything possible, but I'm feeling pretty positive now.  Chemo # 3 was today; after 2 chemo cycles, my tumor shrunk by 65%.

Jenifer, completed TAC x 8 on 4/24/2012. Lumpectomy on 5/23/2012. BMX & immediate DIEH stage 1 on 6/5/2012 NOLA; stage 2 surgery 10/4/12 NOLA. Tamoxifen since 6/2012. Switched to Arimidex 9/2013. Dx 10/20/2011, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 8, 2012 10:21PM LRM216 wrote:

I too am triple negative and hit my third anniversary since diagnose February 23rd.  My oncologist was a strong proponent of hitting it as aggressively as possible.  Let me also add that I was 62 at diagnose, totally healthy other than the BC (that sure sounds stupid!) - a widow raising my then 14 year old grand-daughter and work full time to support us.  I had 4 DD A/C, one taxol (instant neuropathy) and switched to 3 more rounds of taxotere.  Unfortunately for me, unlike others that have posted - I had one hell of a time with the chemo.  It was a nasty ride for me, but I was able to work throughout it all other than my day of infusion.  Had it on a thursday, went for Neulasta shot friday a.m. prior to work, and felt like crappola over the weekend, but managed to drag myself in to work on Monday.  It was not a pleasant trip for me, however, I am forever thankful I did it.  While there are no guarantees that you will never see it progress or recur, I can't imagine being triple negative and not hitting it with everything possible.  I will repeat what I wrote above once again and also stress the importance that you can't go back and re-do.  You only have this one shot at kicking this beast to the curb, please realize that.  I respect your right to make whatever decision you choose for yourself, but just wanted to give my opinion being a triple neg myself.  Good luck and God bless,


P.S, yes, please come on over to the triple neg "calling all TN's" - a wonderful group of women that will be by your side no matter what your choice.

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to end, it's about learning to dance in the rain ... Age 62 at diagnose Dx 2/23/2009, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 3/7/2009 Lumpectomy: Right Chemotherapy 4/25/2009 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxol (paclitaxel), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 10/21/2009 Breast
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Oct 16, 2012 12:59AM anamerty wrote:

I too have tnbc braca 1 I had first chemo today went well so far I have been on other boards trying to find out how my mo came to my recurrence rate so I went to records today angst my path reports well I didn't see any kl-67 test on it but what it does say is that it had been discussed with me that I presents with high risk, node negative, right sIded breast cancer , with poor prognostic features, including tumor grade and triple negativity so I am stage 1 grade 3 triple negative node negative and I have a poor prognosis? HTH!!!!! He said I had a 40 % chance of recurrence without chemo 20 % with it can anybody tell me how he came up with this And does this all mean all we've done is still doesn't matter? When I see poor prognosis to me it means death not let's try another approach

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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Apr 28, 2013 08:05AM PeggySull wrote:


I am triple negative Stage 1 to my MO, stage 2 to my BS. In any case, I was told, after chemo and bilateral mastectomy, that I too have a 20% chance of recurrence.

It seems to me I've seen this 20% figure in a few forums by women quoting their doctors. In my readings, the research on tnbc started not too long ago. The majority of clinical trials are for women who are stage IV (which makes sense given that if or when one reaches that stage the researchers need to come up with drugs to save or greatly extend your life ASAP).

I my opinion, given the relative lack of data for stage 1 and 2 tnbcs, this risk of 20% recurrence stat is old news being recited because they don't have new data on early stage tnbc, just like they don't have much new in the way of chemo for us.

I have decided not to waste my time worrying about recurrence that may never happen to me.I have had aggressive treatment and I am eating a plant based diet and am exercising daily. The diet and exercise many tnbcs consider as our substitute for the tamoxifen our estrogen positive sisters get after they are finished with chemo, surgery, rads, etc.

The hell with the 20% scare. When NEW research is able to predict who is going to be in what percentage of risk in early stage tnbc, I'll rethink it. But for now I am going to assume that my treatment and post-treatment lifestyle changes have stopped my cancer in its tracks.

Just my opinion but I hope it helps.


Dx 10/2012, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 11/25/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Chemotherapy 12/2/2012 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 4/1/2013 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 4/9/2013, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 9/8/2013 Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction; Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction
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Jan 18, 2014 06:31PM kprouty wrote:

I was diagnosed with TNBC in 2011.  I had it all surgery, chemo, radiation.  I would go through chemo any day before I had radiation.  At one point I had no skin on and under my breast.  

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