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Triple Negative stage 1, grade 3.

I was diagnosed with stage 1 grade 3 Triple Negative breast cancer in October 2008 after a routine mammogram. I had a lumpectomy on the left breast and 6 weeks of radiation. The surgeon felt that chemo would be overkill. I did see an onocologist for a consultation and was told that chemo wouldn't do any good anyway....The following day I saw the radiologist who said there was a 95% chance it wouldn't reoccur. There were actaually 2 tumors, one tested negative, my own body had fought it off. After reading various articles I live in fear that it will come back. I have routine mammograms every 6 months and follow ups with the surgeon. I'm wondering if I should have gone in for a second opinion. Is chemo the normal protocol?


HeartofSoul's picture

Babutton, from what i have researched and have seen other triple negative stage 1 grade 3 patients go thru, it included chemo as part of their treatment plan, including my own mom. Triple negative/grade 3 is an aggressive type of cancer and even though a mammogram/catscan may not show any evidence of cancer, its possible it can be in the form of microscopic cells that can not be seen. You mentioned you had 2 tumors, one negative but what is the status of the other tumor at this time? Typically i have seen treatments for this type of cancer include a lumpectomy, 4 cycles of 2 types of chemo and 12 cycles of another plus 6 weeks of radiation. As far as getting a second opinion, I would say its an important part of the strategy for anyone with cancer and would highly suggest it be done. You can request that a tumor board of medical DR such as medical onc, radiologist onc, surgeons, nurses, and pathologists review your case

On a positive note, this type of breast cancer is typically responsive to chemotherapy. Because of its triple negative status, however, triple negative tumors generally do not respond to receptor targeted treatments. Depending on the stage of its diagnosis, triple negative breast cancer can be particularly aggressive, and more likely to recur than other subtypes of breast cancer.

In my opinion, when your surgeon felt that chemo would be overkill, or when you onocologist told you that chemo wouldn't do any good anyway or when the radiologist said there was a 95%
chance it wouldn't reoccur, I and others would tend to have a different viewpoint. Triple-negative breast cancer can be treated with chemotherapy but early relapse and metastasis (spread to other tissues) is not uncommon.

Its certainly possible to that surgery and rad only could cause the cancer to go into remission and remain there for many years or not recure at at all

below are some valuable links on triple negative treatments

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Heart of Soul (Steve) Two time cancer survivor and caregiver

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