Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Watch the Scary TNBC Language!!!

I just got a news release from the University of Connecticut about gene splicing and how that can lead to triple-negative breast cancer. It's the beginning of what could be promising research for a targeted therapy for TNBC.

BUT, in the middle of the release is this utterly outrageous sentence:
Triple negatives are the worst breast cancers: they have the highest rates of metastasis, worst prognosis, and no targeted treatments. 
My edit
Triple negative breast cancer can be more aggressive than hormone-positive cancer, but it responds well to chemotherapy. Metastatic TNBC so far has no targeted treatment.
Later in the release, they call TNBC "this most dreaded form of breast cancer."

I am livid! This is irresponsible and wrong. I was diagnosed in June 2006, 13.5 years ago. I had a second cancer in June 2015, 4.5 years ago. I'm doing fine. I didn't like the experience, but I survived, as do most women with TNBC. 


This site is entirely volunteer. Please consider supporting this work through your donation.

Acupressure can reduce effects of breast cancer treatment.

Acupressure improved some of the most common side effects of breast cancer treatment, including chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and poor sleep, according to a study published in JNCI Cancer Spectrum.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Who Is Most Likely to Get Triple-Negative Breast Cancer?

In an extensive survey of more than a million cases of breast cancer diagnosed between 2010 and 2014, researchers have reaffirmed that triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is most likely to affect black and Hispanic women and women younger than 40. This is nothing new, but the large number of the group studied gives significant support to previous research. According to the study, published in the journal Cancer, 8.4 percent of all cases were triple-negative, a smaller number than in previous research that showed that 10-20 percent of all breast cancer cases were TNBC. READ MORE

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Fiction Helps Me Escape to the Warmth

Thanks, Louise Penny, for reminding us of what's warm, 
welcoming and a bit silly.

It’s usually winter in Three Pines, a village hidden in a forested Canadian valley somewhere between Quebec City and Montreal. The enchanting hamlet doesn't actually exist, although it should, and many of us prefer to think it does. Author Louise Penny created this tiny burg out of her imagination and bits and pieces of the Eastern Townshipsof Quebec, Canada, just north of the Vermont border.

Having read all of Penny’s books about this quirky but welcoming place, I understand why Penny seldom sets her stories in spring or summer.  The frigid Canadian weather allows the residents to gather around fires in the bistro or in the home of one friend or another, to share bowls of steaming soup and fresh bread, to demonstrate physical and emotional warmth and, of course, to help the wise and indestructible Chief Inspector Armand Gamache work out his latest mystery.

The warmth is more potent when pitted against intense cold. The light is stronger when compared with the dark. And it’s easy to overlook that Penny writes a good deal about evil and violence because those become just dark shadows in an otherwise hospitable world. The mystery part of her novels is incidental. We're there for the people.

The hub of Three Pines  is the village green around which the bistro, bookstore, bakery and B&B are all grouped and where the three trees grow, within walking distance of the homes of the oddball inhabitants: Ruth, the renowned poet who nurtures nothing but her foul-mouthed duck; Myrna, a retired psychologist who owns the cozy bookstore; Clara, the artist whose work is far more complicated than it appears; Gabri and Olivier who run the bistro and B&B, gay men who have found a home in this tolerant town; and Armand and his wife Reine-Marie, who adore one another 35-plus years into marriage.

The group meets often for meals and drinks and problem-solving, often related to crimes, often related to their personal lives, always related to food. Book by book, these characters become closer to one another, grow more fully themselves, and build a community too delightful to be real, although readers can dream.

Travel bureaus in the Eastern Townships know a winner when they see it, and they provide mapsweb sites, and formal tours of favorite places in the Gamache novels. The bistro where the gang meets? It could be one of several in Knowlton. The church where the body of the mysterious debt collector was found? It’s just outside Sutton. The monastery where Gamache investigated the death of the music director? It’s the gorgeous Abbaye De St-Benoit-Du-Lac, or St. Benedicts on Lake Memphremagog.  Try to say that with a mouth full of brioche. READ MORE.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Music helps soothe breast cancer pain

Breast cancer treatment can be miserable—doctors cut you up, fill you with toxins, and radiate you. It’s physically and mentally grueling, and it can exhaust patients for months, even years, after treatment ends. Surgery and radiation can leave permanent pain.
Listening to music at home can help. READ MORE.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Five Truths About Triple-Negative Breast Cancer That Can Give You Hope

It’s maddening that come patients are being denied the hope they need when diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Mind you, TNBC is nothing to mess with, but my mantra through my 13 years living through and writing about the disease is, “Most women with TNBC survive and go on to live full lives.” I’ve heard that fact spoken by numerous top researchers through the years. And we have the evidence to support that statement.

So let’s talk about a few facts that may help settle some fears.

1. The disease-free survival rate five years after diagnosis for TNBC is 77 percent. Yes, that is not as good as hormone-positive cancer (93 percent), but it means the odds are still seriously in your favor. And in some studies, the survival rate for TNBC was as high as 85 percent. With continued research, improved tools for early diagnosis, and new treatment options, survival rates for women being treated now are likely to be much higher than that.  

2. If TNBC is going to recur, it will usually do so within the first three years after diagnosis.  

3. After five years, your chances of recurrence are minimal. Ninety-seven percent—as in almost all—of those who survived five years recurrence-free remained so after ten years and 95 percent were recurrence-free after 15 years.  

4. Survival rates are measured from time of diagnosis, so you may be closer than you think to the magic five years.

5. If you have a second cancer, especially several years after your original diagnosis, it might be a second primary, and not a recurrence.  I repeat: Not a recurrence. With a second primary, you’re just starting from the beginning, with a new cancer. Not ideal, but a with significantly better prognosis than a recurrence. Some types of cancer treatment, such as chemo and radiation, can make you more susceptible to a second primary. I have survived the first diagnosis for 13 years and the second for four years, with no signs of disease.

•This site is entirely volunteer. Please consider supporting this work through your donation.

For More Research:

Surviving Triple-Negative Breast Cancer: Hope, Treatment and Recovery, by Patricia Prijatel. (That's me.)

Long-term survival outcomes of triple-receptor negative breast cancer survivors who are disease free at 5 years and relationship with low hormone receptor positivity, British Journal of Cancer. January 2018

Predictive factors and patterns of recurrence in patients with triple negative breast cancer. Annals of Surgical Oncology, February 2014

Constructing a Clinicopathologic Prognostic Model for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer, Physician Education Resource, 2017

Triple-Negative Breast Cancer: Clinical Features and Patterns of Recurrence, Dent et al. Clinical Cancer Research, August 2007

Understanding Statistics Used to Guide Prognosis and Evaluate Treatment, American Society of Clinical Oncology.   

Assessing the prognostic factors, survival, and recurrence incidence of triple negative breast cancer patients, a single center study in Iran. PLOS1, January 2019

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Study Shows Mammography Saves Lives

Hundreds of thousands of women's lives have been saved by mammography and improvements in breast cancer treatment since 1989, according to a study published in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

According to the report,,female breast cancer mortality rates in the United States increased by 0.4% per year from 1975 to 1990. Since 1990, those rates have fallen between 1.8% and 3.4% per year, a decrease that is attributed to increased mammography screening and the improved treatment.

Estimates range from more than 305,000 to more than 483,000 women whose lives were saved between 1990 and 2015, depending on different background mortality assumptions.Researchers estimated that in 2018 alone, an estimated 27,083 to 45,726 breast cancer deaths were averted. 

Researchers analyzed breast cancer mortality data and female population data for U.S. women aged 40 to 84 years over the past three decades.

“Recent reviews of mammography screening have focused media attention on some of the risks of mammography screening, such as call-backs for additional imaging and breast biopsies, downplaying the most important aspect of screening—that finding and treating breast cancer early saves women's lives. Our study provides evidence of just how effective the combination of early detection and modern breast cancer treatment have been in averting breast cancer deaths,” said R. Edward Hendrick, PhD, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine,

Only about half of U.S. women over 40 years of age currently receive regular screening mammography, he said. “The best possible long-term effect of our findings would be to help women recognize that early detection and modern, personalized breast cancer treatment saves lives and to encourage more women to get screened annually starting at age 40.”

[PAT'S NOTE:] Both my cancers were caught early on mammograms, so I'm onboard with this one.