Hormone receptor-positive breast cancer cells have a protein (receptor) in or on cells that attach to estrogen (ER+) or progesterone (PR+) or both. This means hormones fuel the growth of these tumors. Most breast cancers are ER+, and more than half are both ER+ and PR+. A small number — about two percent — are PR+ alone. Hormone receptor-negative breast cancer cells do not have a receptor for either estrogen or progesterone.
Hormone receptor-positive breast cancers tend to grow more slowly than hormone receptor-negative breast cancers. They also are more common in postmenopausal women. Hormone receptor-negative breast cancers are often found in women before menopause.
If you are facing breast cancer in Arizona, rely on our team of expert oncologists at Dignity Health’s Cancer Center to provide specialized care with humankindness. Find a Doctor near you today or call (855) 970-2527.
Who is at Risk for Hormone Receptor-Positive & Negative Breast Cancer?
Both hormone receptor-positive and negative breast cancer types have the same risk factors. Being female is the main risk factor for all breast cancers, however men are known to develop breast cancer in rare cases.
Other risk factors include:
- Caucasian race
- Dense breast tissue
- Diethylstilbestrol exposure
- Early menstruation (younger than 12)
- Late menopause (older than 55)
- Family or personal history of breast cancer
- Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes
- Previous chest radiation therapy
Symptoms of Hormone Receptor-Positive & Negative Breast Cancer
Symptoms are not specific to hormone-sensitive breast cancer. Mammogram screenings find many breast cancers before symptoms develop. However, these are the most common symptoms of all breast cancers:
- Breast lump
- Breast swelling
- Skin changes on the nipple or breast
- Inverted nipple or nipple discharge that is not breast milk
- Change in size, shape, or appearance of the breast or nipple
- Hardening or toughening of the breast
Diagnosis of Hormone Receptor-Positive & Negative Breast Cancer
Doctors diagnose all breast cancer types from a biopsy tissue sample. A biopsy sample can tell your doctor about your specific tumor subtype, grade, HER-2 status, and hormone receptor status. Your doctor will use the information from your biopsy to help guide your treatment options. Sometimes, this information is not available until after surgery is done to remove the tumor.
Treating Hormone Receptor-Positive & Negative Breast Cancer at Dignity Health
Our team of expert oncologists will help you create a treatment plan that works best for you. The main treatment for most cases of hormone receptor-positive and negative breast cancers is surgery — lumpectomy or mastectomy. Lumpectomy removes the tumor and some normal tissue surrounding it. Radiation therapy is usually necessary afterward. Mastectomy removes the entire breast. The stage of breast cancer will determine the type of surgery you need.
Other treatments may include:
The most effective prevention for any type of breast cancer is having an annual screening mammogram.
Dignity Health provides compassionate care for breast cancer patients in Arizona.