As a breast cancer survivor, Leslie Williams felt grateful to be alive. She also felt confusion about her disease triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), a type of cancer that seems to affect women of color more than other ethnic groups. TNBC is named because the breast cancer cells test negative for estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and HER2.
Because many women with triple negative breast cancer don’t understand the potential impact of this disease, Leslie initiated a monthly support group: Survivors on Purpose. The goal is education and conversation at its monthly meetings held on the fourth Thursday evening every month.
Why a special support group for TNBC?
TNBC tends to be more aggressive than other types of breast cancer and, according to breastcancer.org, “studies have shown that triple-negative breast cancer is more likely to spread beyond the breast and more likely to come back after treatment.” The risk of the cancer recurring appears to be most likely in the first few years after treatment.
Five-year survival rates also tend to be lower for triple-negative breast cancer. A 2007 study of more than 50,000 women with all stages of breast cancer found that 77 percent of women with triple-negative breast cancer survived at least five years, versus 93 percent of women with other types of breast cancer.
Hormonal therapies and HER2-targeted therapies work to interfere with the effects of estrogen and progesterone hormones receptors and HER2 on breast cancer helping to slow or even stop the growth of breast cancer cells. These therapies are not effective with TNBC.
“I created the group to gather together and talk about the unique experiences and issues that we as TNBC survivors face” says Ms. Williams.
“We meet each month in the Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at Irving to hear the latest in research and treatment and to offer support to each other.” To learn more, call or email Leslie Williams, founder & survivor, at 214-418-4001.