If you’ve been told that you have hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer, you may be worried. It might feel like you’re missing out on the potential that hormonal therapies have for treating breast cancer.
It’s important to know that treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are very effective against breast cancer — whether it is hormone-receptor-positive or hormone-receptor-negative. And research suggests that hormone-receptor-negative breast cancers may respond better to chemotherapy than hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers do. So even though you aren’t receiving hormonal therapy, you’re likely getting treatment that’s very effective for hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer. And, like people with hormone-receptor-positive cancer, you’re doing everything you can to treat the breast cancer.
Depending on the rest of your test results, you also may be able to take another medication called Herceptin (chemical name: trastumuzab). Your pathology report will tell you whether or not the breast cancer cells have too many copies of a gene called HER2 or too much of the receptor protein it makes. If the cancer is HER2-positive, you may be eligible to take Herceptin. For more information, visit the section on HER2 Status and our section on Herceptin in the Treatment area of the site. If you test negative for HER2 as well as hormone receptors, you’ll find information relevant to your type of cancer in our section on Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.
Something else to consider is taking part in a clinical trial. Clinical trials are designed to test new treatment approaches to find out if they are more effective than the treatments currently being used. Ask your doctor about any clinical trials enrolling people with hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer.