As can be deduced from the name, Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a form of cancer that doesn’t have any of the three known receptors: the HER2 protein, progesterone, and estrogen.
This means this cancer will return a negative result on all three tests, dramatically reducing the treatment options available. Accounting for 10-15% of breast cancers, no other subtype of breast cancer’s prognosis is as bad as that of TBNC’s.
It is saddening that TBNC seems to have a colossal relish for African-American breasts. This cancer type predominates in Black American women less than 40 years, particularly those who have the mutated BRCA1 gene copy.
How bad can these cancers be? Well, they metastasize really fast. The chances of recurrence are particularly high during the first few years. Statistics from John’s Hopkins Breast Center reveal that 1-2 in 10 persons who receive breast cancer diagnosis end up having TBNC.
TBNC symptoms don’t radically differ from the regular breast cancer symptoms. Therefore, patients can experience a mass or lump in their breast, nipple discharge (and in some cases an inverted nipple), and redness in the breast, often accompanied by pains.
What are the chances of recurrence?
Relapses are not atypical of breast cancer. Such reemergence of cancer can occur in far parts of the body like distant-from-the-breast organs or bones. This is termed metastatic cancer.
The cancer can also reemerge locally in the scar tissue or the breast. The former can’t be cured, but can, of course, be systematically managed.
Of all the cancer types, none are as notorious for reemerging as TBNC. Such chances of recurrence are pronounced during the first 36 months of diagnosis.