By Kay Quinn Healthbeat Reporter
St. Louis (KSDK) - We're talking breast cancer in this week's 8 Ways to Prevent Cancer segment, and this report is about a form dubbed the "triple negative."
It resists several common treatments, but there is new hope for patients on the horizon.
If it sounds nasty, it is. Triple negative breast cancer gets its name from the things it doesn't have that make some breast cancers easier to treat.
"Triple negative means it is negative for estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, so it is hormone negative, and it is negative for another marker called HER2 and HER2 is simply a genetic marker on every cell in our body that some breast cancers use to make extra copies," said Dr. Julie Margenthaler with the Siteman Cancer Center.
But beyond the science, what you need to know about triple negative breast cancer is that it's one of the more challenging types of breast cancer to treat.
"We don't have a targeted therapy, so generally it means using standard chemotherapy and because of the aggressive type of cancer that it is, it tends to have a higher rate of recurrence and metastasis," said Dr. Margenthaler.
It's also more common in younger women and women who are African-American. The good news is, doctors hope to have more answers soon.
"That's an area where a lot of research is happening and there are some newer therapies that are being offered on clinical trials for those types of breast cancer," said Dr. Margenthaler.