Triple negative breast cancer symptoms can vary significantly from patient to patient. As with all types of breast cancer, the most common sign is a lump or thickening in the breast tissue, but sometimes there are no symptoms at all.
While triple negative breast cancer does not look any different from other forms of breast cancer, it has some important distinctions. First, triple negative breast cancer tests negatively for estrogen, progesterone and HER-2/neu hormone receptors. Therefore, hormone therapy, which is often used to treat breast cancer, is rendered ineffective. Second, triple negative breast cancer tumors have cells that tend to resemble the basal, or outer, cells that surround the breast ducts. Finally, triple negative cancers are usually more aggressive than other forms of cancer and have a greater tendency to spread and recur following treatment.
Common Symptoms of Triple Negative Breast Cancer
The symptoms of triple negative breast cancer can be similar to those associated with other forms of breast cancer. Some common signs include:
- Lumps or masses felt on or within a breast
- Breast skin changes, such as redness, swelling or pitting (an “orange peel” texture)
- A change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
- Breast asymmetry
- Changes in the appearance of one or both nipples, such as flaking or peeling nipple skin
- Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
- Breast pain, warmth, irritation, itchiness or hardness
Any individual who has questions or concerns about possible breast cancer symptoms is welcome to consult with the outstanding team of experts at Moffitt Cancer Center. We never require referrals, and we offer comprehensive cancer care – including risk assessment and diagnostic services, supportive care and innovative treatments – all in a single, convenient location.