EmpowHER Guest

ask: My sister was just diagnosed with triple negative stage 3 gradellb breast cancer. I'm trying to find info on survival rates and treatment

By Anonymous
Rate This

My sister was just diagnosed with triple negative stage 3 gradellb breast cancer. I'm trying to find info on survival rates and treatment.

Add a Comment10 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

First thing to do, is to pray every day, do not let fear rule you. I also have Triple Negative, right now I am still cancer free, because I do not give in, but put my focus on getting better. and it is working With our Lord, if you are a believer.

Here are 2 articles on our diagnosis which would benefit your sister:
https://www.kintera.org/site/apps/ka/ec/supporter.asp?c=ajIRK7NHLeJ4E&b=... and
Good Luck

February 14, 2015 - 7:00am
EmpowHER Guest

yes i wish to know also as I am on this site trying to also find this out.

April 24, 2013 - 5:35am
EmpowHER Guest

My identical twin sister at 42 was diagnosed with idc grade 3 breast cancer which was found in some nodes not last year but the nov before that and last year up until april may was having chemo and rad now on meds. what is the life expectancy please. She is also suppose to have the gene test as i am awaiting to know if i have to have a masectomy or not pending on her test.

April 24, 2013 - 5:30am
EmpowHER Guest

my sister was dignosied with triple negative breast cancer, 3 aggressive. i have researced the triple negative but i can not understand the 3 aggressive. what i have found i dont understand what it means. can someone please explain what the 3 aggressive means to were i can understand

June 23, 2011 - 8:45pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I am guessing it is Grade 3. My understanding is that it implies how quickly the cells divide. Grade 3 is common for Triple Negative. I am guessing by now they have also staged the cancer. I recevied the same diagnosis on 6/6 of this year. What stage is she?

July 18, 2011 - 1:19pm
Pat Elliott HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Anon - There are many types of cancers and they grow at different rates. When a cancer is termed "aggressive" it means fast-growing. The number 3 most likely is referring to the stage of the cancer, but you should double check that. The following link will provide you with more definitive information on staging. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/detailedguide/breast-cancer-st...
Hope that helps make things clearer for you!

June 24, 2011 - 8:50am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Pat Elliott)

I was given the diagnosis of TNBC in 2009 stage IIB grade 3. In response to the grade. The grade is measured from 1-3 with 3 being the highest grade. The grade show how different the actual cancer cells look from normal healthy breast cells. So I was grade 3 which means my cancer cells highly differentiated from a normal cell. The stage IIB is measured by the size of the tumor and if it has spread to the lymph nodes or other organs. Mine was a large tumor 5.25cm however I did not have lymph node involvement so I was a IIb instead of a stage III.

September 8, 2011 - 8:48am
EmpowHER Guest

I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in August 2005. My stage was llB. There was
a lumpectomy done and 12 lymph nodes removed with only one of the lymph nodes was positive
the 11 others were negative. I am approaching (2months away) from my 4th year cancer free.
I took chemotherapy and then radiation.
I was told by my oncologist that after five years of being cancer free the prognosis goes way up to about 94% survival rate. I'm a little confused if now it is 7 to 10 years instead of the 5 year mark. I was given a very aggressive form of chemotherapy (adriamiacin first and then taxol).
The taxol left me with very bad neuropathy. There is a drug out now called taxatier which will not leave you with neuropathy. I was also told by my radiologist that triple negative was better to have than her positive after 5 years. A little confused? What are your thoughts?
Linda, from Florida

June 23, 2009 - 6:05am

I know of two excellent resources. Dr. Pam Popper of the Wellness Forum recommends:
Cancerdecisions.com AND I recommend Dr. Susan Silberstein, founder and director of CACE: Center for Advancement of Cancer Education www.beatcancer.org excellent.

June 16, 2009 - 9:36am
Diane Porter

Hi, Anon. Welcome to EmpowHer. I'm so glad you found us, and I hope I can help some with your questions.

So sorry to hear of your sister's diagnoses. Let's see what kind of information we can find for you.

First, I had to try to educate myself a little. Here's an explanation from the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation:

"Triple Negative breast cancer can be extremely aggressive and more likely to recur and metastasize than other subtypes of breast cancer. It typically is responsive to chemotherapy, although it can be more difficult to treat because it is unresponsive to the most effective receptor targeted treatments.

"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."

OK. So that's the general explanation of the cancer. The stages of the cancer are as follows:

Here is the TNBC's home page. There are links to other resources and forums, including ask-the-expert pages and bulletin boards where TNBC patients and their families and friends post to one another:


and here's a link to their welcome page to their forums:


The TNBC site was started by a group of women who have dealt with this cancer themselves or with their friends. In searching for information on this different kind of cancer, they decided there needed to be more available. You can see their care throughout the site.

Here's a story on TNBC from breastcancer.org, which explains why the grade is often higher upon diagnosis than in other breast cancers. Please notice the links down the left side to areas on research and treatment:


OK. Let's talk about stages and grades of cancer.

Stages of cancer, according to breastcancer.org:

Cancer stage is based on the size of the tumor, whether the cancer is invasive or non-invasive, whether lymph nodes are involved, and whether the cancer has spread beyond the breast. Stages are 0, I, IIA, IIB, IIIA, IIIB, IIIC and IV.

Grades of cancer are used to classify cancer cells in terms of how abnormal they look under a microscope and how quickly the tumor is likely to grow and spread. The Bloom-Richardson system is used for grading breast cancer, and has a scale of 1 - 3, with 1 being the slowest-growing and 3 being the fastest-growing.

Here's an explanation of the grading system:


OK, so what does all this mean?

Triple negative -- a breast cancer where chemo is effective but treatments targeting three receptor cells are not.

Grade 3 -- a faster-growing cancer.

Stage IIB -- the tumor is larger than 2 but no larger than 5 centimeters and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, OR
the tumor is larger than 5 centimeters but has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes.

First of all, anon, does all this square up with what your sister's doctors have told her? I am just going on the information in your question, and want to be certain I'm not getting any of that information wrong.

Second, do you yet know whether it has spread to any lymph nodes?

This may be daunting information, I know. Here's a bit of good news from a story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I found the story fascinating -- doctors didn't always know that breast cancers differed in this way, and so your sister will get more targeted treatment than she might have in the past:

"A woman's risk of getting cancer again within five years of her initial diagnosis (breast or another form) are higher with a triple negative cancer. But if she's cancer free for seven to 10 years, and beyond, her risk for recurrence is less than with other breast cancers."

Here's that full story:


This next story is pretty dense, I'm warning you. It's about optimizing treatment for TNBC patients and it's written by doctors primarily for doctors -- it was written for the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. But if you can print it out and read it and perhaps take it to your sister's doctor, it does discuss different therapies and field studies on TNBC:


Here's a very good story on TNBC, which includes the following information about five-year survival rates (TNBC rates are somewhat lower than other rates):

"Five-year survival rates tend to be lower for triple-negative bc. A study done in 2007 of more than 50,000 women with all stages of breast cancer found that 77 percent of women with triple-negative bc survived at least 5 years, compared to 93 percent of women with other types of bc. The recurrence and survival figures are averages for all women with triple-negative bc. A variety of factors influence an individual woman's prognosis."


That story also addresses treatments, and one of the most frustrating parts of it for TNBC patients: there are no focused therapies for prevention of recurrence or metastasis beyond chemotherapy and radiation. It does discuss the possible role of vitamin D3.

And here's a very informative piece in Science Daily:


I so hope that some of this information is what you are seeking.

What has your sister's doctor told her about her treatment options and prognosis?

Are there more specifics that we can research for you?

I'm so glad your sister has you in her corner. Support and information are strong weapons in a cancer fight. Please write back and let us know more about what's going on.

May 21, 2009 - 9:26am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.

Breast Cancer

Get Email Updates

Resource Centers

Related Checklists

Breast Cancer Guide

Maryann Gromisch RN Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!


3543 Health


2177 Lives


2029 Lives
10 lives impacted in the last 24 hrs Learn More

Take Our Featured Health Poll

Have you been tested for BRCA gene mutation?:
View Results