Answers to Common Breast Cancer and Genetic Counseling Questions

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about breast cancer and genetic counseling.

What is triple negative breast cancer?

Between 10 and 20 percent of breast cancers are “triple negative,” says, and this type of breast cancer is more often diagnosed in women with inherited breast cancer. This means that the breast cancer cells test negative for estrogen and progesterone receptors and that the HER2 gene is not making too many copies of itself.

Certain treatments are not recommended for patients with triple negative breast cancer. For instance, triple negative breast cancer will not respond to hormonal therapy like Tamoxifen, or treatments like Herceptin, which target HER2 over-amplification. There are other medicines, including some types of chemotherapy, that are valuable in the treatment of triple negative breast cancer.

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Source: Faith Callif-Daley, MS, LGC, genetic counselor, Miami Valley Hospital North;;,, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention