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Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Awareness Day

Today is triple-negative breast cancer awareness day (TNBC). To honor all of those who have been diagnosed, are living with TNBC, or have been impacted by this type of advanced breast cancer, we wanted to share some of the experiences of our patient leaders.

What is triple-negative breast cancer?

Triple-negative breast cancer is a type of breast cancer in which cancer cells do not have estrogen or progesterone receptors and also do not make too much of the protein called HER2.1

Patient leaders who were diagnosed with TNBC

We asked 3 of our patient leaders to tell us, "What’s the one thing people should know about living with triple-negative breast cancer?" Here are their responses:

  • "The one thing that people should know about living with triple-negative breast cancer is that every case is different! Your story is unique, so be sure to ask your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your diagnosis or treatment instead of Googling it" – Melissa
  • "When I was diagnosed with TNBC at 36 years old, I was honestly in shock. I had no family history of any kind of cancer in my family. I didn't know what triple-negative breast cancer even was. But what I learned was cancer does not discriminate. So if you feel something that doesn't feel right, no matter your age, gender, or race, speak up and get the medical attention you need." – Sarah
  • "My mantra since diagnosis has been: I live life fully, every day with hope and gratitude, with the understanding that although my disease is incurable, I remain realistically hopeful. The author I frequently quote is Paul Kalanithi, “When Breath Becomes Air,” who wrote this: 'But knowing that even if I’m dying until I actually die, I am still living.' As you can see, there’s an ongoing theme. The message I share with everyone diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer is to LIVE while you’re alive. Don’t focus on death, because it will only serve to steal hope, gratitude, and joy from each and every day while you’re alive." – Janice

Life with TNBC

Maxine shares about her life with metastatic breast cancer in honor of triple-negative breast cancer awareness day:

"Living with triple-negative breast cancer has robbed me of the life that I wanted. I have always dreamed of being a filmmaker. After I had chemotherapy I thought my cancer chapter was over. I just knew that I would be able to begin my journey of becoming a filmmaker for once and for all. I even enrolled in film school but had to drop out almost immediately because I was in a health crisis called triple-negative breast cancer.

Little did I know that triple-negative breast cancer is so aggressive and that it isn't like other cancers. No one told me that triple-negative breast cancer reoccurs more frequently than other breast cancers.

So, as a cancer thriver, I waited for the other shoe to drop. And drop it did, altering my life in ways I never expected.

Every day is a struggle. I wake up thinking that I have all of the energy in the world only to realize that I'm only operating on 5 percent before extreme fatigue sets in or before I collapse.

I stay in constant pain, and no amount of pain medicine seems to alleviate it. Every day I feel terrible. My life is consumed with chronic pain, lack of sleep, lack of appetite, and countless, useless doctor’s appointments, where they always seem to find something else wrong.

I imagined so much more for my life’s journey. The problem is I never factored in triple-negative breast cancer, the side effects, or the other countless diseases that I would have to endure. I always thought that these would be my golden years – instead, there is no gold in these years for me, it seems."

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AdvancedBreastCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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