Joan Lunden Has It, Jennifer Griffin of Fox News Has It, and I Have It- #TripleNegative #BreastCancer

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If you’ve been following along, you know that on Feb. 4, World Cancer Day, I found out I have breast cancer. This was a scary thing to think about, but something more and more women are faced with each day, regardless of family history. I am not alone, they caught it early, I can deal with this.

But on Feb. 23 my doctor dropped a bomb on me; I actually have what is called “Triple Negative” breast cancer.

After my pathology reports from my lumpectomy came back last Monday, my doctor called to tell me I have “a rare and aggressive type of breast cancer,” a type that only one percent of women get compared to the “normal” type of breast cancer that 80 percent of women have. The phone call lasted less than two minutes. I tried asking about my treatment, my prognosis, anything to reassure me that I’d be okay and the doctor didn’t answer my questions and told me I’d have to ask the oncologist the following week.

Of course I went straight to Google, which is the worst thing to do, and read phrases such as, “higher mortality,” “very aggressive,” “difficult to treat,” “resistant to ‘normal’ hormone drugs,” and the list goes on and on. I felt like I had just been handed a death sentence and my doctor left me in the dust to fend for myself.

For an entire week I scoured the internet looking for people who have this or any information and all I could find from the ’big cancer websites’ was vague descriptions– that it was only discovered in 2000 so there has not been much testing or research done on this type.

Since writing about my diagnosis, Jennifer Griffin, a journalist from Fox News, reached out and directed me to a great website, Triple Negative Foundation. It has a lot of helpful information for women going through this and their families.

I also discovered Joan Lunden has this type of breast cancer and is at the end of her treatment and dong well. Her website has lots of videos and useful information.

Today, March 3rd, is Triple Negative Breast Cancer Awareness Day. If you’re like me, you’ve never heard of this. And if you have TNBC, then you know that there is not a lot of information out there about this rare and aggressive type of breast cancer. Even many doctors had never treated patients with this because it is so new and rare. That is why I am going to a specialist tomorrow to ensure I have the best care possible from experienced doctors.

Triple Negative does not have to mean a death sentence. There is treatment and there is hope. I am so lucky I found my lump when it was only as Stage I and it has not spread to my lymph nodes. Treatment will be intense but I will get through it with a positive attitude. Some other women and families I have met so far along the way have not been so lucky with their TNBC diagnosis and so I fight my battle in their honor. But there are so many women who are not as lucky and so now I fight my battle for them.

My mission is to raise awareness and remind people of the life-saving importance of doing self breast exams. If I didn’t find mine when I did, by accident while dying my hair,  it may have been too late.

Below are some facts from the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation:

  • A diagnosis of TNBC means that the tumor in question is estrogen-receptor negative, progesterone-receptor negative and Her2-negative. In other words, triple negative breast cancer tumors do not exhibit any of the three known receptors.
  • Receptor-targeting therapies have fueled tremendous recent advances in the fight against breast cancer. Unfortunately, there is no such targeted therapy for triple negative breast cancer.
  • TNBC tends to be more aggressive, more likely to recur, and more difficult to treat because there is no targeted treatment.
  • TNBC disproportionately strikes younger women, women of African, Latina or Caribbean descent, and those with BRCA1 mutations.
  • Approximately every half hour, another woman in the US is diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer.

CLICK HERE to join #MyLeftBoob awareness campaign.

CLICK HERE to go to my GoFundMe page to support my breast cancer battle.

Photo: Mayo Clinic

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Janet C.
    Mar 04, 2015 @ 17:31:05

    I just want to wish you luck and let you know that I am a 6 year survivor of triple negative breast cancer stage 2 a no lymph node involvement grade 3. It is considered rare but actually 10 to 20% of breast cancer cases can be triple negative.

    Reply

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