TNBC and Me: Living Beyond Breast Cancer and Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation’s Spotlight on the Triple-Negative Subtype
About 15-20 percent of people diagnosed with breast cancer have a subtype of the disease called “triple-negative.” Of the nearly 253,000 U.S. women diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017, that amounts to between 37,000 and 51,000 women diagnosed as triple-negative last year alone. Yet outside of those affected by it, and especially in the general public, very few people understand what triple-negative means and the impact it has on treatment. And those who have heard of it often think of it as the “worst” kind of breast cancer you can have.
Triple-negative is a type of breast cancer that isn’t driven by estrogen or progesterone, as hormone receptor-positive cancers are, or the HER2 protein, like HER2-positive breast cancers. It’s called triple-negative for practical reasons – because it doesn’t have receptors for those three cancer drivers. But people diagnosed with the subtype, and even many oncologists, agree that the name itself sounds too negative and worrisome, and that it can lead to further misunderstanding and worse feelings. Beyond the name, LBBC and TNBCF performed a needs assessment together and learned that women diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer have higher levels of fear, worry and anxiety than those with other types of breast cancer. Many feel this way because of the lack of targeted, ongoing therapies available for the disease.
Though it has an inherently “negative” name, triple-negative disease actually responds well to many chemotherapies. It’s also the focus of many clinical trials looking at up-and-coming treatments, from PARP inhibitors to immunotherapies, that could change the way the disease is treated in the future.
Longtime partners Living Beyond Breast Cancer and the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation are teaming up this summer and fall to put triple-negative breast cancer front and center and to help dispel some of the myths associated with the disease. Starting next Monday, July 16, and running through the end of August, we’ll share the personal stories of women living with triple-negative breast cancer in our blog series, TNBC and Me. Each week look for their videos and stories here on our blog, on LBBC and TNBCF’s social media pages, and on the blogs some of the authors run on their own.
These stories will culminate in our national conference. If you’re living with TNBC or are a caregiver or loved one to someone diagnosed with it, join us in Philadelphia September 28 – 30 for the 2018 Living Beyond Breast Cancer Conference: Sharing Wisdom, Sharing Strength, where TNBCF and LBBC partner again to offer programming tailored specifically for this subtype. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about topics relevant to you while meeting others who share the diagnosis and other types of breast cancer as well.
By Catherine Ormerod, MSS, MLSP of Living Beyond Breast Cancer, and Hayley Dinerman of Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation.
The TNBC and Me blog series is supported by: