NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- I sat down with my breast surgeon, Dr. Elisa Port of Mount Sinai, about the mass and the 6 lymph nodes she removed during my surgery, and the complexities of triple-negative breast cancer.
"What's interesting is that, with triple negative, believe it or not, even though it is more aggressive and we typically associate lymph node spread with more aggressive, you don't see a lot of lymph node spread with triple negative, so that can be a tricky thing," said Dr. Port.
I also asked Dr. Port more about the staging of my breast cancer, which was equally as difficult.
"The staging of breast cancer has evolved," said Dr. Port. "By the old definition of staging, any tumor under 2 centimeters with negative nodes is a stage 1."
She went on to say, "In the new version of staging, triple negative is not usually considered stage 1."
Dr. Port explains precisely what triple negative means, that is, the negative receptors for the hormones estrogen and progesterone and the protein, HER2.
What this means is that triple-negative has fewer targeted therapies, since doctors can't use medications that target those three things.
That being said, there are still new options being explored, particularly for BRCA-positive patients.
We also discussed the problem of residual breast tissue after mastectomy.
"I do think there are some times when patients have other goals, which is a more natural look. Well, a more natural look could be code for leaving more tissue behind," said Dr. Port. "We always have to keep our eye on the prize -- giving someone the lowest possible chance of getting breast cancer. That has to be the shared goal."
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