Understanding Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Triple Negative breast cancer does not have receptors for hormones (such as estrogen and progesterone) or a protein called HER2. Without these proteins, they cannot grow and spread like other types of breast cancer. This type of cancer is less common than other types of breast cancer, and it can be harder to treat. But the outlook is still good, and there are many treatment options available.

Your doctor might diagnose Triple Negative breast cancer by doing a mammogram and taking a biopsy of a lump in your breast. They will then look at the cells under a microscope to find out how fast your cancer is growing. This information is used to determine the grade of your cancer.

You will also have a blood test to see if your cancer has HER2 and other proteins. These tests help your doctor decide what kind of chemotherapy to give you. Your doctor will give you the same kind of chemotherapy that is given to other types of breast cancer, but it may be more likely to be combined with immunotherapy, which uses drugs to make your immune system attack cancer cells.

In some cases, your doctor might suggest surgery before chemotherapy to shrink a tumor or to find out if your cancer has spread beyond the breast. This is called neoadjuvant therapy. They might also suggest surgery with lymph node removal, which is called adjuvant therapy. Your doctor might also recommend a targeted drug that blocks HER2 or other proteins that the cancer cells depend on to grow. They might also recommend chemotherapy with a drug that stops androgens from acting on the cancer cells. This drug is called enzalutamide.

After treatment, you might have regular mammograms and check-ups with your doctor to make sure the cancer has not come back. Your doctor might also advise you to avoid certain things, such as alcohol and some medicines. You should try to get enough exercise and eat healthy foods. It is important to get emotional support, too.

Whether your cancer comes back after treatment depends on many things, such as the stage and grade of your cancer, how it has spread, and your genetic makeup. If you have a BRCA gene mutation, you have a higher risk of getting breast cancer.

As research continues, doctors are learning more about what causes triple negative breast cancer and how to improve treatments. They are looking for new types of chemotherapy drugs and combination therapies, as well as ways to improve immunotherapy treatment. They are also studying how different genes affect breast cancer and whether they can be used to predict how a person might respond to treatment. You might be able to take part in a clinical trial to help researchers find better ways to treat triple negative breast cancer. Visit the Clinical Trials Search tool at Cancer Research UK for information about clinical trials near you. This can be a great way to get the most effective treatment for you.