CSN Login
Members Online: 10

You are here


Posts: 6
Joined: May 2011

ON MARCH/31/11


Understanding Triple Negative Breast Cancer:
It is only in the last few years that professionals studying breast cancer have concluded that breast cancer is not one disease, but many different forms of cancer all originating in the breast. Depending on its stage of diagnosis, triple negative breast cancer can be extremely aggressive and more likely to recur and metastasize than other subtypes of breast cancer. It typically is responsive to chemotherapy, although it can be more difficult to treat because it is unresponsive to the most effective receptor targeted treatments.These subtypes of breast cancer are generally diagnosed based upon the presence, or lack of, three "receptors" known to fuel most breast cancers: estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). The most successful treatments for breast cancer target these receptors.
Unfortunately, none of these receptors are found in women with triple negative breast cancer. In other words, a triple negative breast cancer diagnosis means that the offending tumor is estrogen receptor-negative, progesterone receptor-negative and HER2-negative, thus giving rise to the name "triple negative breast cancer." 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

Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

Many of us on this board are triple negative....yes, it is a rather " unique" breast cancer...our options for treatment, at this time, are surgery, mastectomy or lumpectomy...chemo and radiation...because our bc is not estrogen positive, meaning the cancer is fed by estrogen, we are not candidates for Tamoxifen or any other estrogen blockers...that's, I guess, good and bad. Because it doesn't work for us, we won't have the side effects that many who take it, report...but we are out of options other than the above stated treatments...

PLEASE don't look at this as a death sentence....I know you're scared...we've been there...I am two years from my diagnosis and 22 months out from all treatment..lumpectomy, chemo and rads...my surgeon and oncologist both told me, yes, it's not a " good" one...like there's a good one...but triple negative responds better to chemo than most bc....and after 3 years chance of recurrence drops to all other forms of bc...and the further out the better the chances of it not coming back...we all hold our breath, regardless of type...

I am triple negative, stage IIa..grade 3 ..no lymph node involvement...

Please keep posting...everyone is here to help...this is a long journey you're embarking on and you can gain strength from those of us who have walked in your shoes..and are presently walking the path...and get first hand experiences...but always remember, everyone is different..

I wish you the very best...and am here to help in anyone I can..


jessiesmom1's picture
Posts: 869
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi skylinepoms,

And welcome to the club you never wanted to join. I was diagnosed with tnbc in Dec. 2009 - Stage IIa, Grade 3. I had an excision biopsy, complete axillary dissection,Tissue of Origin test, right mastectomy with a tissue expander inserted and 16 rounds of chemotherapy. No radiation. My expander exchange surgery is scheduled for June 13th.

There are a number of women on the Board who also have tnbc and will be responding to your post. Just remember that tnbc IS typically responsive to chemotherapy. My most recent check-up 2 weeks ago was perfectly clean. You can worry yourself to death with the what-ifs. I choose to believe that I am doing fine and in remission (aka Dancing with NED) until I am told otherwise. I cannot live with that big rock hanging over my head. I have a home, a husband, 2 children in college and a Golden Retriever who need me.

Since your diagnosis has it been determined what the course of action will be? Surgery-what type? Chemo-which cocktail? Radiation-how many?

The website for the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation has a lot of good information on our particular form of this lovely disease.

I am glad that you have found us despite the reason. Please keep us posted on how things are going for you. The Pink Sisters/Kindred Spirits are here.


Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2011

I was diagnosed as triple negative bc (right breast with lymph nodes involved) in December 2010.

Completed 6 chemo with A/C/T (Adriamycin/Cytoxan/Taxotere)in April 2011, and followed by lumpectomy on my right breast, also removed all lymph nodes (14 of them) under the right arm in May.

My oncology doctor is recommending 4 more chemo with Xeloda and Taxol to hopefully reduce my reoccurence rate. I am depressed with the need of further chemo and I am wondering why did you have to do 16 chemo? Thanks.


Posts: 87
Joined: Apr 2010

I am somewhat similar to Nancy. I am 17 months out from chemo (cytoxan and taxotere). I was diagnosed in Aug. of 2009. Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Stage IIa, Grade 3. I had a mastectomy (no reconstruction as I was 43 years old-what do I need them for now anyway), 6 rounds of chemo, and no lymph node involvement. I found myself worrying over every little thing, but the longer I get out from chemo, the anxiety is not as bad. Stay positive and don't dwell on the statistics (they are SO depressing). When I was first diagnosed, I had no clue what was involved with breast cancer much less about Triple Negative. It terrified me when I read up on it, but others on here helped to guide me through.

I hope everything goes well for you. I don't get on here very much, but would be more than willing to help in any way I can.

Blessings to you,


Noel's picture
Posts: 3100
Joined: Apr 2009

I am not triple negative, but, want to wish you good luck. Try to stay positive and come here if you have questions, need support, or, just want to vent.

Hugs, Noel

laughs_a_lot's picture
Posts: 1369
Joined: Mar 2011

I agree that the triple negative breast foundation is a great place to get educated on the issues involved. I am currently undergoing chemo for TNBC. I had a lumpectomy Stage 2, 2 out of 15 nodes positive for cancer. My tumor was 6.6 cm at it's largest dimension. Normally that would have put me at stage 3 if the criteria were based purely on size alone. However, after reading the pathology report and finding out that there was a lot of "gritty fibrous tissue" along with the tumor (I suspect this is like cancer want to be cells but not quite cancer yet). So even in a case of the aggressive nature of this type of cancer there are little miracles and blessings.
I directly apply my faith to this diagnosis. Here's how I figure it. I can only do the best I can do to fight this cancer. I beleive the doctors feel the same way about thier job in working to eliminate my cancer. Given our human limitations we just do our best. I then count on God to do the rest. I suspect and even bet on the fact that he has far more work for me to do on this earth. Therefore, given that belief, I figure I am going to be around for another 30 to 40 years. I try not to worry about recurrence while practicing due diligence.
I tell my family members the truth when they ask about the chances of reccurrence even down to the grandchildren. Prior to bc I have had the motto "Tell me the truth, no matter how ugly, so I can do the most effective thing and get on with life." This attitude has gotten me through many other types of challenges that me and my family has encountered. I give the grandkids the truth when they ask it. I also couch the answer in some humor. This way when they see me still laughing they take the truth well too. Ido not know what your family is like but only know this worked well with mine. Hope this information helps you.

poplolly's picture
Posts: 346
Joined: Apr 2011

It sounds like you have the basic info. I have metaplastic, triple-negative cancer. I had a right mastectomy, chemo, and radiation. One thing I will tell you is that if you start searching for articles on your type of cancer, look for current information. The olders articles are depressing plus they didn't know then what they do now in terms of our kind of cancer.

ssmith37's picture
Posts: 22
Joined: May 2011

Hi skylinepoms. I am also triple negative, and when I did my research, it scared me to death too. But after reading so many of these ladies' positive posts, and reading updated information, I feel much better. I had my lumpectomy yesterday, and I assume chemo is the next step. I haven't spoken with an oncologist yet. I didn't want to go through chemo, but I guess since it's triple negative, I really don't have a choice. It is encouraging though that triple negative is highly responsive to chemo. And I have chosen to surround myself with positive thoughts and people. I hope you will try to do the same.

Good luck to you! We're here for you.


Posts: 62
Joined: Dec 2011

I too agree with the fact that it just means its not positive for ER,PR but the good thing is we are HER2 that is good means it is not aggressive. BY the way I am TN also and my Tumor size was so so small 2.1MM that all I need is radiation. My doctor also put me on an anti estrogen pill not for this cancer but to prevent other cancers. By the way any cancer can come back negative or not we are all in the same boat. We just have to pray and hope it does not come back. I had uterus cancer prior to this cancer I am surprised it did not have to do with estrogen. The funny thing is when I had a biopsy before my surgery it was er+ go explain. I will be going for the BRAC test next week if positive than my treatment options may change.

Posts: 62
Joined: Dec 2011

One thing is true you can read and read and result on the computer all day and it just worries you and scares you!!!

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2012

I am new to this site and this is the first board I've gone to. Today is my 1-yr cancerversary. Dx on 1-14-11, lumpectomy in Feb, chemo March-June (6 rounds DD cytoxan/taxol as part of clinical trial), 33 rads.
I am stage 1, 0/3 lymph nodes, clear margins, grade 3. I have had a post-mammo that was clear, noted as NED 'no evidence of disease', yay!

Are there other TN sites? This particular thread does not seem to be frequented much.

Subscribe to Comments for "TRIPLE NEGATIVE CARCINOMA"