If you have hormone receptor-negative breast cancer, it means your cancer cells do not grow in response to the hormones estrogen or progesterone. Receptors are proteins on certain tumor cells that hormones stick to, allowing cancer cells to grow and multiply. Hormone receptor-negative breast cancer cells do not have a receptor for estrogen or progesterone. As a result, hormone therapy cannot treat this type of cancer.
If you’ve been diagnosed with hormone receptor-negative breast cancer in the Sacramento region, the experienced doctors and nurse navigators at the Dignity Health Cancer Institute of Greater Sacramento can create a treatment plan for an optimal chance of recovery. Find a Doctor today for support through every step of your diagnosis and treatment.
About 25 to 30 percent of breast cancers are hormone receptor-negative. Compared to hormone receptor-positive breast cancers, hormone receptor-negative cancers tend to grow more quickly. They also more commonly occur in premenopausal women.
In most cases, doctors at Dignity Health use a breast biopsy to diagnose hormone receptor-negative breast cancer. The biopsy sample can tell them about the specific tumor subtype, grade, HER-2 status and hormone receptor status. Having this information helps guide your treatment decisions.
Hormone Receptor-Negative Breast Cancer Symptoms
There are no characteristic symptoms for hormone receptor-negative breast cancer.
Mammogram screening finds many breast cancers before symptoms develop. When symptoms are present, the most common is a lump.
Other signs and symptoms include:
- Swelling of part or all of the breast
- Change in size, shape, or appearance of the breast or nipple
- Skin changes on the breast or nipple
- Inverted nipple or nipple discharge that isn’t breast milk
Treating Hormone Receptor-Negative Breast Cancer at Dignity Health
Using the latest available technologies, we offer surgery as a main treatment for most cases of hormone receptor-negative breast cancer. The stage of breast cancer will determine the type of surgery we perform. A lumpectomy removes the tumor and some normal tissue surrounding it. A mastectomy removes the entire breast. Radiation therapy is usually necessary afterwards.
Chemotherapy is another main treatment for hormone receptor-negative breast cancer. These medicines kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. If your tumor is positive for the HER2 protein, targeted therapies may be an option. These drugs zoom in on a substance (or marker) on the cancer cells to destroy them.
Some women feel discouraged after being diagnosed with hormone receptor-negative breast cancer because they cannot use hormone therapy. Keep in mind that surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy work very well in treating breast cancer. In fact, some research suggests chemotherapy may be more effective against hormone receptor-negative tumors than hormone receptor-positive tumors.
Rely on our oncologists to walk you through each treatment with personal care. We also recommend joining one of our support groups to partner with other patients who are undergoing similar treatments. The experts at Dignity Health Cancer Institute of Greater Sacramento are proud to provide comprehensive care for hormone receptor-negative breast cancer in Sacramento and the surrounding areas.