Tomorrow it will be four months since my last oncology doctors appointment. I am always very nervous before my appointment. I worry about every ache and pain I have, wondering if my cancer has come back, wondering if I will have the privilege of living a cancer free life.
Because my cancer was an early stage IIA, I do not get scans and blood tests, which I guess is a good thing. It is hard though to sit and wait and wonder if or when it will come back. I had triple negative breast cancer.
It is now commonly understood that breast cancer is not one form of cancer, but many different “subtypes” of cancer
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.
You can find out more information about triple negative breast cancer HERE on the triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation site.
Cross posted on Spruce Hill