Did you know that March 3 is Triple Negative Breast Cancer Day?
By Pat Battaglia
What IS Triple Negative Breast cancer (TNBC), anyway?
The term TNBC refers to the fact that the cancer cells do not have estrogen receptors or progesterone receptors, and they don’t make to much of a protein called HER2. TNBC accounts for about 10% of all female breast cancer cases in the United States.
In honor of this day, and of all who are diagnosed with TNBC, we present three common myths and facts about this breast cancer subtype.
Myth 1: TNBC is a single subtype of breast cancer.
Truth: The term “TNBC” describes only the absence of certain key features often found in breast cancer. However, research has revealed diverse biologic subsets within the TNBC classification, some of which can be targeted with specific treatments. Remarkable progress has been made in this field in recent years. And the work continues.
Myth 2: Only Black women get TNBC.
Truth: While THBCs affect people of all races, ethnicities, and genders, it is also true that Black American women who develop breast cancer have an estimated 20 to 40 percent chance of receiving a TNBC diagnosis. At the present time, this disparity is poorly understood. Also at higher risk for a TNBC diagnosis are those under 40, as well as the carriers of certain genetic mutations.
Myth 3: TNBC is the worst kind of breast cancer.
Truth: There is no “good” type of breast cancer. Each subtype carries unique challenges and opportunities, including TNBC. Over 30 years of clinical trials testing chemotherapies and other novel, targeted therapies, are changing the picture for those diagnosed with TNBC. People with TNBC need to talk with their health care providers about their unique situations and the treatment options available to them. Enrolling in clinical trials, whenever available and appropriate to an individual, is a good option for many.
You Aren’t Alone!
Our active, thriving community at the Coalition includes a good number of TNBC survivors. They are a great source of support, practical tips, and inspiration to each other. Whether your diagnosis is TNBC, or any other breast or gynecologic cancer, there is strength to be found in community. We’re here for you!