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New research shows breast cancer is 11 different diseases

New research shows breast cancer is 11 different diseases

Posted by Essjay on Mar 14, 2019 11:57 am

Those of us with breast cancer know that there are many differences between different women’s (and men’s) diseases and we have different treatment protocols. Now scientists have published their findings that categorize 11 different breast cancers. This could target treatment much better in the future, giving patients better treatments and better long term outcomes.


Re: New research shows breast cancer is 11 different diseases

Posted by LPPK on Mar 15, 2019 11:30 am

That is encouraging Essjay‍  There are already some tests available. Since I had early stage IDC, estrogen receptor positive, withno lymph node involvement I was a candidate for the Oncotype DX test . While it took a very long month of waiting to get the results after my first visit to the medical oncology, I felt the wait was worth the anxiety because there was more evidence to show that I would not benefit from chemo. We could move forward with assurance that the course of treatment, radiation and Tamoxifen, would be a good approach for me.
Hopefully more tests will come on board soon to help with treatment decisions. 

Re: New research shows breast cancer is 11 different diseases

Posted by ashcon on Mar 15, 2019 12:02 pm

Hi Essjay‍ 

Thanks so much for sharing this article.  I find it fascinating that they know that breast cancer is actually 11 different/separate diseases and each one of those 11 diseases has a different cause - therefore needing a different treatment, making it a "constellation of 11 diseases".  This awareness proves that everyone's case & treatment plan is unique, as is our responses to those treatment plans. 

When you also consider all the other types of cancer out there - prostate, lung, pancreatic, etc, etc it's easy to see why there are over 200 types of cancer.   And some cancers can change as it progresses, even "hiding" or becoming resistant to treatment protocols, making it a constantly moving, shift-shaping target.
All I can say is... HIGH 5 to all the doctors out there who are helping all of us!
And, being aware of this complexity of cancer makes it hard to believe that "Big Pharm" has the cure for cancer, and they are just not releasing it because they want to continue making money, nor that there is a simple, single "cure-all" for cancer like Vit C infusions, CBD Oil, frankincense, apricot kernels, or any other claims that are out there these days.

hkjudyprairiemomDiana BCSurvived99Sam67Matuu‍   I like what this article says about triple-negative breast cancer:  it is one of the hardest types to treat (as we know) and is actually two classes of cancer (which I didn't know). One class is that if there is no relapse in 5 years, then the woman is "probably cured".  The second subgroup is still at significant risk of relapse.
Unfortunately it does not seem that they have landed on a firm way to test for which class  of TNBC you fall into, but progress is being made.
For now, I am celebrating 2 years since diagnosis....3 to go!

LPPK‍ - I am so glad that the Oncotype DX test identified for you, and many other women, that chemo would not have provided you any significant benefit and you were spared from it, as a result. 

Re: New research shows breast cancer is 11 different diseases

Posted by Essjay on Mar 15, 2019 1:44 pm

Hi ashcon‍, as another TNBC patient I too was interested in what the research shows. Re big Pharma and drugs, I find it astonishing that the drugs I am being treated with through chemo were first licensed before I was born! They date from an ‘agent orange ‘ era and sometimes feel not much different! 

Re: New research shows breast cancer is 11 different diseases

Posted by Survived99 on Mar 16, 2019 8:32 am

Thanks for tagging me. I was honing in on the word 'cure' as it is generally  not something heard in the context of cancer. People used to say I was 'in remission' and I never liked that term as it made me think that my life was just a waiting game. I have heard the word cure twice in relation to me - once when I was in treatment and my oncologist reduced the dose of one of my chemo treatments because I was continually being hospitalized due to febrile neutropenia (fevers and no white blood cells to fight infection). I must have looked frightened because he said that it was okay and that he was trying to cure me not kill me! I guess I realized at that point that there was hope! 

The second time I heard it was from my current breast oncologist when the pathologists were trying to decide what type of cancer they had removed from me in 2016. She was emphatic that it wasn't a recurrence of my first cancer and that I could consider myself cured of triple-negative BC.  It was nice to hear! This year marks 20 years from my date of diagnosis. 

Re: New research shows breast cancer is 11 different diseases

Posted by ashcon on Mar 16, 2019 12:01 pm

What a wonderful, good-news update!  Thank you for sharing this, and congratulations on hitting the 20-year mark.  Your story gives me hope for myself.

ashcon (Ann)

Re: New research shows breast cancer is 11 different diseases

Posted by Minus2 on Mar 17, 2019 8:02 am

Thanks for sharing Essjay‍.  Like LPPK‍ said, this builds on the work that led to the development of the OncoDX test she and I both had.  It would be interesting to know which sub-type of the ER+ cancer I fall into, but I suspect that information won't be available for some time.  There was an episode on the Nature of Things in 2012 called Cracking Cancer and it profiled a Personalized OncoGenomics research project aimed at figuring out what drives cancer.  The study compares a cancer patient's normal DNA to the DNA of their tumour, identifies differences and mutations, and then looks for any drug - not just cancer drugs - that address the cancer.  Right now we diagnose cancer by where it originates in the body but I think we are quickly moving towards a radical new way of treating cancer, not according to where it originates in the body, but rather as a disease of genetic mutations.



Re: New research shows breast cancer is 11 different diseases

Posted by irishchick on Mar 17, 2019 3:32 pm

Survived99‍ Thank you so much for your update...the 20 years from TNBC! That gives the rest of us with the same diagnosis, a LOT of hope. 😊 I too, am TNBC and will have my 4th and final chemo on Tuesday and then 16 radiation treatments to start mid April!

Re: New research shows breast cancer is 11 different diseases

Posted by Lacey_adminCCS on Mar 17, 2019 8:05 pm

20 years! Amazing Survived99‍! Thank you for keeping an eye out and popping in to share hope and info!

Greatly appreciated! 

Re: New research shows breast cancer is 11 different diseases

Posted by Sam67 on Mar 19, 2019 10:57 am

Thanks ashcon‍ for tagging me   I had my follow up with my surgeon yesterday and she still didn't have my pathology report back from my bilateral mastectomy and it's been three weeks. I did ask about the onco DX testing but was told that the testing has to be requested by my oncologist. Now I have to wait to see my oncologist to see if I did get tested for rate of recurrence. So frustrating that these tests are not just done and as we wad our way through this journey and find out more information we have to go back and ask if we'd were tested for each thing we find out. 
I hope that researchers continue to look at triple negative BC. I didn't know there were so many types of cancer. Learning more everyday. 
I really enjoy this site for the new information I learn each time I am on it. 

Re: New research shows breast cancer is 11 different diseases

Posted by ashcon on Mar 19, 2019 1:21 pm

Hi Sam67‍ 
Glad to hear you had your follow up yesterday with the surgeon but it's unfortunate that the pathology results were not ready yet. When will you get them? 
Tip: ask for a copy for yourself as it provides the basis of your treatment plan roadmap that your oncology team will map out.  It's good to be a navigator on this road trip with your doctors and having the pathology report really helps! 
How are you recovering from the surgery? How are the expanders doing? 

You are so right about tests and such that we have to ask about or follow up on. I can't tell you how appreciative I am of this site, and learning from others. If not for these conversations I honestly believe I would have missed out on asking some crucial questions of my doctors and would not have received the level of treatment that I did. 

If you are TNBC, you may get signed up for chemo automatically. My understanding is that that test is only for hormone-receptor types of breast cancer and only those that fall within a certain staging. 

Good luck with upcoming appointments. 
Keep us posted on your news and updates. Your experiences will help others! 

Re: New research shows breast cancer is 11 different diseases

Posted by Sam67 on Apr 4, 2019 5:18 pm

ashcon‍ You were right and the onco DX testing is only for hormone positive breast cancer. I have survived surgery but the expansion of the expanders has been quite painful as it is being done each week so that I can start radiation. I had my last expanders fill today so glad that is done. Tomorrow I go and have the tattoos for radiation done and then wait for my radiation to start after that. I will have 25 rounds as I was not eligible for the trial of 16 rounds at a higher dose due to having cancer in my superclavicur nodes. Can't seem to catch a break anywhere. 
Finally did get my pathology report from surgery and that was my one bit of good news. The margins were clear and so were the lymph nodes they removed. It seems that the awful chemo treatments did their job well for me and killed the cancer. 
Here's to hoping that radiation goes better than chemo did for me eithoyt a lit if side effects. 
Any radiation tips will be greatly appreciated.