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5 Things to Know About Triple Negative Breast Cancer

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5 Things to Know About Triple Negative Breast Cancer

   September 11, 2022

   HCG Nasik Team,


Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a type of aggressive breast cancer. It is difficult to treat, more aggressive and has a high risk of recurrence. It is an invasive cancer, which is progesterone receptor-negative, estrogen-receptor-negative, and HER2-negative. It indicates that the cancer cells of TNBC do not produce HER2 protein and do not have estrogen and progesterone receptors. It indicates that doctors have limited options to treat this cancer compared to other types of breast cancer that respond to hormonal therapy. However, several other treatment options are effective in treating TNBC.

TNBC comprises 10-15% of all cases of breast cancer. The BRCA1 gene plays a role in preventing cancer. Mutation in this gene increases the risk of cancer, including breast cancer. The patient should search for “Triple Negative Breast Cancer doctors near me” in case of breast cancer symptoms.

5 Things You Should Know About Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

  • Symptoms and causes of triple-negative breast cancer

    In many cases, the patients do not have any obvious symptoms of breast cancer. However, the symptoms of TNBC are similar to the signs and symptoms of other types of breast cancer. For example, the patients with TNBC may experience breast pain and redness, mass or lump in the breast, turning of the nipple in an inward direction (nipple retraction), dimpling and skin irritation, nipple discharge (other than breast milk), dry and flaking nipple skin, and swollen lymph nodes (when breast cancer spreads to nearby lymph nodes, including that of collarbone or underarm).

  • Diagnosing triple-negative breast cancer

    The patients experiencing the symptoms should visit the doctor for further examining their condition. In some cases, the cancer is detected during screening. Patients with increased risk for breast cancer, such as having BRCA mutation, should undergo routine screening. Further, the women should also perform a self-exam to determine any abnormal changes in the breast.

    After examining the lump through a mammogram, the doctor may advise the patient to undergo a biopsy. A biopsy is a method in which a sample of the abnormal tissue mass is obtained and examined under a microscope. Biopsy assists in confirming the presence of cancer and its type and stage.

    Different imaging tests are also performed to determine the size of the tumour and its spread to other organs. These include ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, CT scan and PET scan. These tests are also performed to monitor the response to cancer treatment.

  • Treating triple-negative breast cancer

    There are several options for triple negative breast cancer treatment. It includes chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and immunotherapy.

    Chemotherapy involves using medications that kill or slow down the progression of the disease and make TNBC less aggressive. Chemotherapy may also be performed before surgery to reduce the size of the tumour. In some cases, the oncologists may perform it after surgery to kill the remaining cancer cells. In TNBC, aggressive chemotherapy is usually used.

    Surgery includes lumpectomy and mastectomy. In a lumpectomy, the doctor removes the lump from the breast. In the mastectomy, the whole breast is removed.

    The doctor may use radiation therapy after the surgery to kill the remaining cancer cells. Radiotherapy after surgery may also reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.

    Immunotherapy is generally used in advanced stages of TNBC. The oncologists prescribe medications that assist the immune system in detecting cancer cells as invaders, thereby killing them.

  • Prevention and genetic counseling of triple-negative breast cancer

    The exact cause of TNBC is not known. Thus, there is no method to completely prevent TNBC. However, certain measures may help in reducing the risk of TNBC. Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, being informed about the family history, self-examining breasts and undergoing routine screening may help prevent an early diagnosis of TNBC.

    The patients may also be advised to take a consultation with a genetic counselor. The counselor may advise the person to undergo a genetic test if the family history reveals a high risk of TNBC. For instance, people who are African-American or Latina are at increased risk of breast cancer.

  • Triple-negative breast cancer is aggressive with a poor prognosis

    Several factors affect the prognosis of TNBC. These include the size of the tumour, speed of growth, stage of diagnosis, and response to treatment. TNBC is generally more aggressive compared to other types of breast cancer. The prognosis of TNBC is generally poor. Adjuvant therapies generally used for estrogen-receptive breast cancer or HER2-positive breast cancer are also ineffective in TNBC.

    Studies indicate that TNBC is more likely to spread to other organs and has a higher risk of recurrence. The grade of TNBC is higher compared to other types of breast cancer. The higher the grade the less is the similarity of the cancer cells to normal cells. The 5-year survival rate of localized TNBC is 91%, for regional 65%, and for distant, the 5-year survival rate is 12%. The overall survival rate (all stages combined) is 77%.


It is essential to consult with the doctor if the patient experiences any abnormal changes in the breast. Although symptoms of other conditions, such as cysts, may also mimic the symptoms of cancer, it is important to be examined by an expert. Early diagnosis and effective treatment of TNBC improves outcome.

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