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Treating Hormone Receptor-Negative Breast Cancer in Southern California

Hormone receptor-negative breast cancer cells lack a receptor for either progesterone or estrogen. This means these cells do not grow in response to hormones and hormone therapy is not effective against them. Hormone receptor-negative breast cancer tumors tend to grow faster than hormone receptor-positive ones. Around 25 to 30 percent of breast cancers are hormone receptor negative. They are more common in women who have not gone through menopause

At Dignity Health Southern California hospitals, our doctors and staff use breakthrough treatments to triumph over breast cancer. Your care team includes highly trained oncologists and radiation therapists, as well as nurses and other support staff. 

Find a Doctor with expertise in treating hormone receptor-negative breast cancer in Southern California with the dignity and compassion you deserve. We offer our cancer care services at: 

Symptoms of Estrogen Receptor-Negative Breast Cancer

Most cases of hormone receptor-negative breast cancer do not have any symptoms. If symptoms are present, they may include:

  • A lump within the breast tissue 
  • Skin changes on the nipple or other part of the breast
  • Nipple discharge that isn’t breast milk
  • Swelling of all or part of the breast
  • Change in appearance, size, or shape of part of the beast, such as an inverted nipple

The most effective prevention for hormone receptor-negative breast cancer is having an annual screening mammogram

Diagnosing Progesterone Receptor-Negative Breast Cancer

Tissue biopsy is used to diagnose hormone receptor-negative breast cancer. Doctors can also use this tissue sample to determine the tumor’s:

  • Grade
  • Stage
  • Sub-type 
  • HER-2 protein status

Your doctor will use this information to create a personalized treatment plan. 

Advanced Treatment for ER-Negative Breast Cancer at Dignity Health Southern California

If you are diagnosed with hormone receptor-negative breast cancer, your doctor will most likely recommend surgery as the first line of treatment. Surgery for breast cancer involves removing either part (lumpectomy) or all of the affected breast or breasts (mastectomy). The stage of breast cancer will determine the type of surgery. If the entire breast is not removed, radiation therapy is used to make sure any remaining cancer cells are destroyed.  

Chemotherapy is another common treatment for hormone receptor-negative breast cancer. If your tumor is positive for the HER2 protein, targeted therapies may also be an option. These drugs use a marker on the cancer cells to identify and destroy them.

If you have hormone receptor-negative breast cancer, you may be frustrated that hormone therapy is not an option for you. It’s important to remember that chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery are highly effective treatments for your type of cancer. In fact, some studies have found that chemotherapy may be more effective against hormone receptor-negative tumors than hormone receptor-positive tumors.

Dignity Health offers a variety of treatment options for hormone receptor-negative breast cancer in Southern California.