75% of breast cancers are fueled (not caused, but fueled) by estrogen and progesterone hormone receptors. 20% of breast cancers are fueled by a protein receptor known as HER2. One can be both hormone and HER2 positive or test positive for only one.
Targeted therapies exist for these receptor positive cancers.
However, 15 - 20% of breast cancers have no known fuel source. They test negative for both hormone receptors and they test negative for the protein receptor. These cancers are then dubbed "triple negative." While triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) can often respond quite well to chemotherapy, there is no follow-up treatment to help prevent recurrences. TNBC is often quite aggressive and much more research is needed to figure out what makes those particular cancers grow.
My friend, Wanda, died of triple negative metastatic breast cancer on November 16, 2014. I still miss her. I still have all her texts on my phone. She should still be here.
Today is Triple Negative Breast Cancer Day. We need more. So much more.