In 2017, I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Today, I talk to you about the diagnosis, treatment protocols, decisions made, and the surgeries that I went through.
My journey started with a routine mammogram. A cluster of calcifications were tightly grouped together. The radiologist noted that almost always they were benign. However, from an ultrasound done, he recommended a biopsy. The tissue from the MRI guided biopsy, gave us a firm diagnosis.
This episode was really hard for me to record. It flooded me with emotions from the walking back through all the details. However since triple-negative breast cancer is not as common, I know it’s important to continue to talk about my journey.
Triple-negative breast cancer accounts for only 10-15% of all breast cancer patients. It often has a higher risk of recurrence outside the breast area. Depending on the surgery options you choose that may lessen your anxiety or worry about it recurring in the same breast. Talk with your doctor and be sure to ask how many patients that they treat with triple -negative breast cancer. An oncologist who specializes in this particular cancer will know the right plan for you.
Triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC) need different types of treatments because they are estrogen receptor-negative, progesterone receptor-negative and HER2-negative.
The same drugs that are used for other types of breast cancers that are estrogen/progesterone receptor – positive or HER2- positive are not effective in treating triple-negative breast cancer.
My oncologist carefully explained the importance of being able to see on my imaging, the chemotherapy drugs were effective during treatment. For this reason, I chose to not have surgery first. After treatment, they would find a tumor hiding under dense tissue; not yet seen until the first surgery.
I am so glad I opted not to have surgery first. Also grateful, that my oncologist treats all stages of TNBC the same. With that plan, Mayo has an over 90% success rate with TNBC.
I hope that you will listen along and feel free to leave me any questions. You can also click over to these blog posts for more information.
Becoming a Warrior