ER-negative cancer recurrence risk?

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Question from JeanneD: I am very frustrated with so little information available for treatment of ER-negative tumors. From what I read, they are the most aggressive, and with my tumor a Grade III, it really scares me. I watch the fat in my diet as well as total calories. Thirty minutes of exercise a day and adequate rest at night helps my energy level. What do you feel my prognosis is for recurrence and is there treatment for the future?
Answers - Kathy D. Miller, M.D. Your individual prognosis is still influenced by the number of lymph nodes involved and the size of the tumor in the breast. You understand correctly that tumors that are ER-negative have a higher rate of recurrences in the first five years after diagnosis, but the long-term prognosis is comparable with ER-positive tumors. The good news for women with ER-negative tumors is that you derive greater benefit from chemotherapy than women who have ER-positive tumors who received the same chemotherapy. The other things that you can do to decrease the risk of recurrence is to follow a healthy lifestyle, including eating a low-fat diet and exercising regularly. You're already doing those things, so you're clearly on the right track.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Hormone-Receptor-Negative Breast Cancer featured Kathy D. Miller, M.D., Marisa Weiss, M.D., and moderator Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. answering your questions about a wide range of issues related to hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in November 2005.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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