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Is it common to get misdiagnosis of the type of breast cancer?

By Anonymous October 19, 2011 - 11:48pm
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My sister was misdiagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer when she actually had estrogen positive. She was not given radiation and tamoxifen because of that faulty/bad pathology lab reading. And he cancer recurred 2 years later. She is out of the woods now, but does this happen often? Does she have any recourse against the lab?

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Hi Anonymous,

Triple Negative Breast Cancer is actually a sub-type of breast cancer. I did find the perfect explanation to better help you understand this type of breast cancer and why the receptors are not found.

These subtypes of breast cancer are generally diagnosed based upon the presence, or lack of, three "receptors" known to fuel most breast cancers: estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). The most successful treatments for breast cancer target these receptors.
Unfortunately, none of these receptors are found in women with triple negative breast cancer. In other words, a triple negative breast cancer diagnosis means that the offending tumor is estrogen receptor-negative, progesterone receptor-negative and HER2-negative, thus giving rise to the name "triple negative breast cancer." On a positive note, this type of breast cancer is typically responsive to chemotherapy. Because of its triple negative status, however, triple negative tumors generally do not respond to receptor targeted treatments. Depending on the stage of its diagnosis, triple negative breast cancer can be particularly aggressive, and more likely to recur than other subtypes of breast cancer.

You can learn more about Triple Negative Breast Cancer here: http://www.tnbcfoundation.org/understandingtnbc.htm

Congrats to your sister on her remission!



October 20, 2011 - 7:30am
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