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The Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation
About 10-20 percent of breast cancers test negative for both hormone receptors and HER2 in the lab, which means they are considered triple negative. Since hormones are not supporting its growth, the cancer is unlikely to respond to hormonal therapies. Triple negative breast cancer also is unlikely to respond to medications that target HER2.
In addition, triple negative breast cancer:
Tends to be more aggressive than other types of breast cancer. Studies have shown that triple negative breast cancer is more likely to spread beyond the breast and more likely to recur (come back) after treatment.
Five-year survival rates also tend to be lower for triple negative breast cancer. A 2007 study of more than 50,000 women with all stages of breast cancer found that 77% of women with triple negative breast cancer survived at least 5 years, versus 93% of women with other types of breast cancer.
Tends to be higher grade than other types of breast cancer. The higher the grade, the less the cancer cells resemble normal, healthy breast cells in their appearance and growth patterns. On a scale of 1 to 3, triple negative breast cancer often is grade 3.
Usually is a cell type called “basal-like.” “Basal-like” means that the cells resemble the basal cells that line the breast ducts. This is a new subtype of breast cancer that researchers have identified using gene analysis technology. Basal-like cancers tend to be more aggressive, higher grade cancers — just like triple negative breast cancers. It’s believed that most triple negative breast cancers are of the basal-like cell type.
These are the realities that women diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer must face. Thankfully, one young woman’s struggle is making a significant difference for others diagnosed with this type of breast cancer.
The Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation® was founded in 2006 in honor of Nancy Block-Zenna, a young woman who was diagnosed at age 35 with triple negative breast cancer. Unfortunately, Nancy lost her life to the disease in 2007, but it was in response to her diagnosis, that close friends launched the TNBC Foundation to raise awareness and support research in the area of triple negative breast cancer.
It was Nancy’s hope that, as her daughter Jolie grows older, triple negative breast cancer will no longer be the threat it is today. Everyone at the Foundation shares Nancy’s hope.
To raise awareness of triple negative breast cancer and to support scientists and researchers in their effort to determine the definitive causes of triple negative breast cancer, so that effective detection, diagnosis, prevention and treatment can be pursued and achieved.
To ignite interest in the study of triple negative breast cancer among researchers, physicians, educators and scientists
To support professionals seeking to identify the cause(s) of triple negative breast cancer and to discover new and effective treatment options
To increase public awareness and support of this subtype of breast cancer
The Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation® has partnered with CancerCare to offer free, professional support services to patients, families and health providers coping with a diagnosis of triple negative breast cancer.
The TNBC Helpline is staffed by experienced oncology social workers with specific knowledge of triple negative disease. In addition to counseling, TNBC Helpline staff can assist callers in availing themselves of the various other services CancerCare has to offer including, where appropriate, helping patients apply for co-pay assistance, transportation and other social services.
To speak to one of their expert social workers, you can call their toll free number Monday through Thursday 9am to 7pm EST and Friday 9am to 5pm EST. 877-880-TNBC (8622).
In addition to the helpline, the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation® provides information on clinical trials, questions to ask your medical team, a state-of-the-art treatment brochure, survivorship, resources for African-American women, webcasts, and links to other breast cancer organizations.
If you would like more information, please visit their website at: http://www.tnbcfoundation.org/