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Old 02-20-2012, 12:29 PM   #1
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triple negative breast cancer

Hi, my daughter has just had a breast lump (and some lymph nodes) removed. Initially she was expecting only a dose of radiation treatment ("to clear up anything left behind") in about 6 weeks after the surgery has healed up.

However she has now been told her tumour cells were triple negative so she will probably be in for some chemotherapy as well.

This is a bit confusing, we don't see why the triple negative discovery would cause extra treatment - there was no mention of any hormone treatment previously.

We are in different countries so communication is not easy and I do not wnat to bother / worry her by asking too many questions, so I wonder if there is anyone out there who can give me a clue as to what thinking might be going on?
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Old 03-05-2012, 01:22 PM   #2
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Re: triple negative breast cancer

Hi Tumbleweed, I myself have/had Triple negative breast cancer, so i am telling you what i know as a patient, not a dr, and i will explain in the easy terms in which i wish someone had bothered to explain to me.
The only way i can explain this is that when we have our tumours/lymph nodes taken out, they are tested for certain hormones, there are 3 hormones that us ladies have, and if you have one, two or three of these hormones show up in the tumour, it means a positive result, if you don't have any of these 3 hormones show up, it means a negative result, hence triple negative. From what my oncologist told me, it is better to be positive, because these ladies go on to anti cancer drugs for the next five years, and it helps fight against the cancer, but us triple negative ladies can't do this, so they feel the best thing is to give us a bout of chemo just in case there are any stray cancer cells still in our body. With the positive ladies, their anti cancer drugs may catch any stray cells, but of course we dont have the tablets, so we have the chemo instead. I don't know what country you are in, but there are Triple negative forums out there, especially in American, i joined them as here in England triple negative cancer is quite rare. From what ive been told, its not the best cancer to have, but its not the worst either, and it all depends on how big the tumour was, and what grade and stage it was as well. I had the worst grade possible, grade 3, so i have been told my will more likely come back, and i feel like im sitting with a ticking time bomb to be honest, but i have to carry on as normal, i dont have any choice. I really hope your daughter does well, please update and let me know how she gets on. If you want to ask anything else, just say. I have only given you the advice my oncologist told me, but i hope this helps you , all the best to your daughter xx

 
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Old 03-06-2012, 03:00 AM   #3
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Re: triple negative breast cancer

Thank you do much for replying - though not such good news. I am in Bulgaria and she is in England. I do not think I will share this with her yet. My son is a doctor and attends her medical appointments with her and her next one is next Monday, so I will talk to them both after this and keep you informed.
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Old 03-08-2012, 04:45 PM   #4
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Re: triple negative breast cancer

My breast cancer was also triple negative, stage 1, grade 3, no lymph nodes were cancer. I had a lumpectomy with margins, then a second lumpectomy with a new tumor (6mm) larger than original and margins found. Now I needed a mastectomy but first 4 sessions of chemo. I had the mastectomy 8 weeks ago and no cancer was found. So I am considered in remission with a checkup in August. I hope this helps. I had a choice of a third lumpectomy with radiation or a mastectomy with no radiation. I am glad I chose the mastectomy.

 
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Old 03-08-2012, 11:02 PM   #5
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Re: triple negative breast cancer

Thanks for your post, would you mind sharing the timetable of your operations?
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Old 03-09-2012, 06:45 AM   #6
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Re: triple negative breast cancer

Tumbleweed,

Here is the timetable of my surgeries: First lumpectomy was Aug. 25
Second lumpectomy was Sept. 1
Chemo
Mastectomy was Jan. 13
By the way I am 76 years old.

 
Old 03-09-2012, 10:49 AM   #7
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Re: triple negative breast cancer

What a rotten year you had - I'm sorry. I was expecting that your ops would have been spread out over a a number of years. Was there any reason why they needed so many attempts to sort you out? I hope that you have finished with treatments now - you were wise / lucky to avoid radiation - I've had it twice.

All the best,

peter
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Old 03-13-2012, 03:52 AM   #8
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Re: triple negative breast cancer

Daughter to have precautionary chemo 4 half hour sessions at 3 weekly intervals, followed by 4 three hour sessions at 2 weekly intervals. She has been told she will be able to drive to and from sessions but might feel a little low for a few days a few days after each session. Any observations welcome.

peter
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Last edited by tumbleweed; 03-13-2012 at 03:54 AM.

 
Old 03-13-2012, 07:09 AM   #9
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Re: triple negative breast cancer

Tumbleweed

As to your question why it took so long to sort out my cancer - first lumpectomy showed still some margins so went in again. Second lumpectomy discovered a new lump plus margins. Then mastectomy removed the whole breast which was cancer free due to chemo first. Oncologist says mammograms have 10% error and I believe the radiologist has at least another 10% or more from what I experienced.

My chemo drugs were Taxotere and Cytoxan. Then since i had a breathing problem with Taxotere on my second session. For my 3rd and 4th session I had Cytoxan and Adriamycin. I had 4 sessions, 3 weeks apart. Taxotere gave me severe body aches. Also
after 9 days I had low white blood cell count plus fever and spent 4-1/2 days in hospital in isolation. After the next 3 sessions (l day after) I was given a shot of Neulasta which kept my temperature down but I still had to stay home so I didn't catch anything for a week each time. I had to have a PICC installed (catheter) in my arm for the Adriamycin
to go in. That was installed too far in near my heart and caused flutters so another problem. Maybe your daughter will get a port which they say is better? My chemo didn't cause a problem for the first day or two but after that side effects start. Food taste is off and appetite is gone but one has to force something down. Drink alot and walk around. Ginger tea helps. Everyone is different and different drugs matter. Any more help I can be, just ask.

 
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Old 10-22-2012, 10:36 AM   #10
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Re: triple negative breast cancer

OK now (until next march check-up at least). Quite an ordeal though, fortunately she has a very understanding employer who has arranged an easy move to full time employment by the middle of January next year. Thanks for advice and support.

tumbleweed

Last edited by tumbleweed; 10-22-2012 at 10:38 AM.

 
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