Wednesday, March 2, 2016

TNBC and March 3 and What I Should Be Aware Of

Every cancer is different.

Every cancer patient is different.

Every cancer patient's treatment is different.

In Ecclesiastes 3:7, we are told that there is a time to speak and a time to be silent.

Today is March 3, and it is the day set aside as a day to become more aware of a subtype of breast cancer known as TNBC.  Triple Negative Breast Cancer.

This day is a time to speak.

For instance, what do we really know about breast cancer?
Until it affects you or someone you love, you may not know as much as you think.

One of the things I found out that surprised me, was that there are different subtypes of breast cancer.

When it was decided that my cancer was most likely breast cancer, I was told that we were treating it as if it was Triple Negative Breast Cancer, and my education on the subject took off running.

To help you understand, sometimes on a cancer cell you will find something called a hormone receptor.  And if the receptors match up to the hormone, then the receptor receives a message from the hormone.

That message is to grow.

So the cancer cell grows.

There are three of these that we know of in Breast Cancer.  Estrogen receptors, Progesterone receptors or HER2 receptors.  If the cancer cells do not have any of the three receptors, then it considered Triple Negative.

It might sound like a good thing to have a cancer without any receptors, but for some reason, these types of cancer cells are very aggressive, and sometimes just do not respond to treatment like you would think they should.  They also tend to come back more often.

So it is treated much more aggressively.

While hormone positive cancers have treatments that can be used to stop the interaction between the hormones and the receptors, Triple Negative Cancers do not have this option.

So it can be scary when you have this kind of diagnosis.

TNBC has received a lot of attention lately.  The more attention it gets, the more research is directed in that area, and the more research, the more likely they will come up with treatments that will work for this aggressive form of breast cancer.

So today, on 3/3, take a moment to learn something new and share it with others.

And please be sure that you are up to date with your own screening for breast cancer.


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