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What To Know About Triple-Negative Breast Cancer?

Triple-negative breast cancer is different from normal breast cancer. It accounts for 10-20 % of all types of breast cancers. These types of cancers occur when the cancerous cells lack certain hormone receptors. When your doctor tests for the three receptors, the result turns out negative. This leads to triple-negative breast cancer. The triple-negative breast cancer treatment methods are quite different from those of common cancer. It is generally observed in women who are younger than 40 years of age. It is common in women belonging to African, American, and Hispanic regions.

Research has found the presence of the mutated BRCA1 gene in triple-negative breast cancer.

If you are curious to know more facts about triple-negative breast cancer, this blog can help you.

What Is Triple-Negative Breast Cancer?

The ‘triple-negative’ term here belongs to the absence of the cell receptors. Receptors are the specific markers by which scientists and doctors recognize certain cells. 

The cells lack receptors for these hormones:

  • Estrogen hormone
  • Progesterone hormone
  • Human Epidermal Growth Factor (ERF 2)

In the case of other breast cancers, the doctors apply methods to target and destroy these receptors. But triple-negative breast cancer cells lack all three receptors. So, it becomes difficult to recognize and destroy such cancerous cells. 

When your doctor will perform the diagnosis test, the result will be negative for receptors. This leads to the condition known as triple-negative breast cancer.

Lots of scientists are trying their best to identify the real cause and solution to this. The research is still ongoing. But there are quite a few possible techniques for triple-negative breast cancer treatment.

What Causes Triple-Negative Breast Cancer?

The major cause of triple-negative breast cancer is the mutation of the gene BRCA1. The mutated gene can pass through generations.  Despite that, there is no evidence of exactly what causes triple-negative breast cancer.

Triple-negative breast cancers are the common cases found in African-American and Hispanic women. It results from the genetic heredity passed on through the generations.

Genetic heredity is the most common cause of this disease. But there can be more than one cause which we still don’t know. This is the reason why it is the central problem for research.

Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Symptoms

The symptoms of triple-negative breast cancer are like other types of breast cancers

Here are the signs and symptoms of triple-negative breast cancer:

  • Lump or cellular mass in breast
  • Nipple turned inwards
  • Nipple discharge
  • Breast pain
  • Redness and inflammation

How to Diagnose Triple-Negative Breast Cancer?

There are no specific ways to diagnose triple-negative breast cancer. Yet, the only way to diagnose is through biopsy. If you witness any of the above-mentioned symptoms, then you should visit your doctor for a test.

A biopsy is a pathological test performed in this case. Your doctor will extract small tissue parts from the affected area. The doctor will observe and study the tissue under a microscope. If you have triple-negative breast cancer, the testing will be on cell receptors. These receptors are specific for hormones estrogen, progesterone, and EGF.

Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Treatment

Although it is a type of cancerous disease, your doctor has to make sure that it does not spread to other body parts. The doctor might remove the affected cells from your body through surgery.

In some cases, the doctor performs chemotherapy before surgery. It makes sure to suppress the cancer cells to a certain level. Once it stops spreading to other parts, the doctors can remove it through surgery.

Depending upon the condition of the affected patient, the doctor will recommend the treatment. 

These are some triple-negative breast cancer treatment methods:

Mastectomy – Your surgeon will recommend mastectomy when cancer has slightly spread to the nearby tissues. In such cases, the surgeon completely removes the breast part and nearby tissues. Further, you can also choose breast reconstruction.

Lumpectomy – In a lumpectomy, the surgeon removes the lumps from the breast. This stops spreading the cells to other body parts. The surgery takes an hour or two. The surgeon also removes some adjacent tissues and lymph nodes. This makes sure that even a single cell should not spread throughout the body.

Radiation – Radiation is the most traditional technique for killing cancerous cells. Usually, the doctors recommend radiation at the latter stages. It helps kill the cancerous cells when they have spread through the entire body.  It is also performed after lumpectomy to remove the remaining cancerous cells if any. Your radiotherapist will provide high-energy radiation from a machine. The rays will target and kill your cancerous cells.

Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy is the most common method for all types of cancers. Your chemotherapist will give you special medicines. They target and you’re your cancerous cells. 

The doctor also suggests chemotherapy before and after surgery. This eliminates the chance of cancer cells growing back. 

Diet for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

The dietician suggests specific diets to help the body fight cancerous cells. The diet can play a specific role along with the treatment. It will boost your immune system at the time of treatment.

 Some of the recommended diet constituents are as follows:

  • Green leafy and fiber-rich vegetables
  • Legumes, pulses, and beans
  • Whole grains (quinoa, brown rice)
  • Antioxidant-rich foods like dark chocolate, green tea
  • Soybean
  • Broccoli
  • Fruits such as berries, carrots, grapes
  • Spices and herbs like turmeric, ginger, parsley

Foods you must avoid:

  • Red and processed meat
  • Sugar drinks
  • Refined grains
  • Processed foods
  • Alcohol

Immunotherapy for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Immunotherapy is an effective way of treating all types of cancers. Recent research has shown that immunotherapy has shown positive results in this case. The triple-negative breast cancer is an aggressive type. 

The immune system of your body plays a vital role in fighting cancerous cells. Some labs make special proteins to induce the immune system. The immune cells will then identify and kill the cancerous cells in your body. 

Research claims that the immunotherapy technique has been effective against triple-negative breast cancer. 

Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Survival Rate

The triple-negative breast cancer is a diverse kind of breast cancer disease. The survival rate can vary depending on the cancer stage. 

The American Cancer Society divides the 5-year rate of survival into three stages:

  • Local (91%)
  • Regional (65%)
  • Distant (11%)

 There is a 40% chance of cancer recurrence. However, 60% of people claim to be living cancer-free life after the treatment. In this case, the rate of recurrence is lesser as compared to types of cancer.

How to Take Care of Yourself?

Since the actual cause is unknown, the treatments are limited too. But you can take some preventive measures to keep yourself healthy during that phase.

  • Make regular appointments with your doctor
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Avoid junk and fried food
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol
  • Practise meditation for a mental piece
  • Do some exercise and yoga but in a limited amount
  • Avoid strenuous activities
  • Drink water often

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