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These Animated Videos Explain Some Unusual Types Of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer can be broken down into different stages and types. The stages begin at stage 0 (also called DCIS or pre-cancer), where the cancer cells are still in the milk ducts and haven’t yet spread to the breast tissue, and cap at stage 4 (also called metastatic), where the cancer cells have spread to other areas of the body, like the lungs, liver, bones, or brain. To learn more about the different stages of breast cancer, check out our list here.

This list delves into three of the more unusual forms of the disease that occur less frequently.

Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC)

About 10-20% of all breast cancers are called triple negative, or metaplastic breast cancer. To understand what TNBC is, you have to understand what typically fuels the growth of a healthy or cancerous cell in the breast; the three bodily chemicals that are primarily responsible are estrogen, progesterone, and the HER2/neu protein.

Triple negative cancer cells, however, lack receptors for all three of these bodily chemicals. This first video explains these receptors and how they impact treatment options.

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Because triple negative cells lack receptors for estrogen and progesterone, and typically have few if any HER2/nue receptors, it makes treatment more difficult. Without hormone therapy or HER2-targeting drugs, TNBC patients often must undergo chemotherapy. They also have a poorer prognosis after five years than their counterparts who have hormone-positive breast cancer.

However, there’s research being done. In a study involving 3,000 patients, doctors were able to determine that 8 out of 10 patients with triple negative breast cancer have the BCL11A gene. This will hopefully lead to the creation of targeted gene therapy for triple negative patients.

To learn more about triple negative breast cancer, watch the video.


Click NEXT to see the next type: IBC


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C. Kramer is back in the Mitten State after a brief residency in the Sunshine State. She has an adorable dog-child, and enjoys reading, writing, going to the theatre, and finding pins on Pinterest. Her mother is a breast cancer survivor.