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Triple-negative breast cancer: Top patient questions

triple-negative breast cancer

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is one of the many types of subtypes of breast cancer. Unlike the most common types of breast cancer subtypes, triple-negative breast cancer is not defined by hormones or the HER2 gene. The good news is that treatment outcomes are advancing thanks to research and improved treatment methods. However, triple-negative breast cancer can grow rapidly and is more likely to spread outside the breast area prior to diagnosis. It’s also more likely to recur compared to other breast cancers. As with anything in life, it’s important to focus on the things you can do and can control, and the same applies to battling cancer. 


Outcomes4Me is a free cancer app that helps patients manage care. Designed by a cancer survivor, our app helps patients stay in the driver seat. Take us along on your journey. We’ll deliver a peer community, personalized cancer treatment options, symptom tracking and management, and more. While doctors and nurses are dedicated to providing superior care, you’re not their only patient. We strongly encourage breast cancer patients to be involved with managing their care, and do everything we can to make it easier. 

New triple-negative breast cancer clinical trial

The desire to win the battle with cancer is powerful. Relentless professionals stand by your side, ready to find treatments that can save lives, or give life a new meaning. There may be clinical trials that you can participate in. Some life-saving or life-altering treatments such as chemotherapy would not be available without clinical research or trials. Participating in a clinical trial can give you the opportunity to beat TNBC while helping others. This can offer purpose for patients. 


So, how do you find clinical trials that are a good match? This is yet another feature of the Outcomes4Me app: access the latest innovation and clinical trials, tailored to your medical history and or diagnosis. With Outcomes4Me, you can manage your care alongside top doctors, accessing recommendations and information along the way. We can even help you understand health records – because we know asking questions can be intimidating, especially when you fear the answer. 


Is triple negative breast cancer genetic?

While breast cancers aren’t usually passed down through generations, there’s a strong association between triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) and BRCA1 gene mutation. Genetic testing can help you understand genetic predisposition. If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, you’ve been diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer at age 60 or younger, or you’re diagnosed with any type of breast cancer at age 50 or younger, you may want to test for BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. 


What are triple negative breast cancer symptoms?

Catching breast cancer early on can shift the treatment journey substantially. Cancer can spread, which poses a greater health danger. The sooner doctor’s can diagnose cancer, the sooner they can work to localize it to prevent it from spreading. For most women, it’s discovered during routine exams such as a breast cancer screening (on a mammogram), before symptoms are present. It’s important to stay on top of your health and preventative care. 


Some women may have symptoms, but many do not. Symptoms can include:


  • Breast shape change
  • Swelling of the breast
  • Findings on a mammogram
  • Breast or nipple pain
  • Nipple discharge
  • Nipple inversion
  • A lump
  • Thickening of the nipple skin
  • New crease in the breast


What is the prognosis for triple negative breast cancer?

You might be wondering what the prognosis is with TNBC, which can be impacted by the size and spread of the cancer. If you’re TNBC was detected in the earlier stages, this too, can improve the prognosis. Treatment can be a bit more complicated for TNBC compared to other types of breast cancers. It lacks receptors that other types of cancers have, which is part of the complexity. However, with dedicated professionals and clinical research working tirelessly every day, treatments and technology continue to develop.


What is the survival rate for triple negative breast cancer?

The 5-year relative survival rate for women with triple negative breast cancer are as follows:


  • Localized: 91%
  • Regional 66%
  • Distant: 12%
  • All stages combined: 77%


The above survival rates are based on women diagnosed with TNBC between 2012 and 2018. As technology and treatment continues to advance, we hope to see improved prognosis and survival rates. 


Is there any hope for TNBC patients?

There’s no shortage of brilliant individuals fighting the battle of cancer every day. Whether these individuals are diagnosed with cancer or committed to helping those that are, we are in this together. Hold onto hope, always, but be realistic, too. Connect with peers on the Outcomes4Me app for support and newfound hope. Your loved ones may support you, but they may not always understand what you’re going through like your peers do. Support can help you feel hopeful and strong enough to face the battle of cancer. There are treatment methods for TNBC, and more treatment methods being tested in clinical trials. Treatment methods include chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. In addition, medications called poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors and PARP inhibitors are now FDA-approved. These medications can be used to treat TNBC as well as immunotherapy. For personalized cancer treatment options download the Outcomes4Me app, and explore options from the quiet and privacy of your own home. 


What is the latest treatment for TNBC?

As we’ve mentioned, clinical trials are constantly working to find new treatment methods for TNBC. Newer types of medication that are being used to treat TNBC include poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors, which are now FDA-approved. Immunotherapy can also be used to detect malignant cells or harmful invaders to help your immune system fight cancer. 


Are there any survivors of triple-negative breast cancer?

Finding TNBC survivors is a heartfelt way to gain that glimmer of hope you might need. Many TNBC survivors are thriving after treatment, andcontinue to live life in remission. Regardless of your stage or type of cancer, support groups or peer communities can offer a helping hand from folks that understand what you’re going through. Connect with a TNBC peer community using the Outcomes4Me app.


Is chemo worth it for triple-negative breast cancer?

If you’ve been diagnosed with TNBC, you’ve probably heard the word chemotherapy come from your doctor’s mouth. It’s almost always involved in treating TNBC. Chemotherapy is used to shrink tumors to make them less aggressive. It’s a treatment that can be tailored to the patient, their diagnosis, and their needs, but one that should not be taken lightly. Chemotherapy can be an intense treatment. Speak with your doctor and or explore personalized cancer treatment options on the Outcomes4Me app to choose the best treatment option. Success may look different for each of us depending on where we are at in life. 


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