Preventative Treatments / Medicines

How Do I Protect Myself Against a Recurrence?

Unfortunately there isn't any magic lotion or potion.  Despite what you may read on the internet, there is nothing proven - you'll see lots of suggestions like cutting out sugar, taking cannabis oil, increasing vitamin D, adding Tumeric to your diet, drinking certain herbal teas etc.  None of these have been proven to work.  It may well be that a combination of some/all of what is suggested MAY help but a sensible Meditteranean diet and exercise are what doctor's normally order!  However, there are some things that you can take that are proven to work ...............

For most breast cancers, such as Oestrogen, Progesterone or Herceptin positive cancers, you can take tablets and/or injections to help prevent a recurrence.  A few years ago, it was recommended that patients stayed on the preventative medication for 2 years, this increased to 5 years and now some Oncologists are recommending 10 years or for life.  From my understanding of the drugs available, they can have some pretty nasty side effects and it can take a while to find the right drug that the individual can tolerate.  Sometimes it's as simple as switching the brand but keeping the same drug.  These drugs are proven to prevent a recurrence of breast cancer in most (not all) patients.  So whilst the side effects for some may be horrible, it is worth persevering with.

For Triple Negative Breast Cancer, there is, unfortunately, no safety net.  However, advances are being made in research all the time.  Currently there is a suggest that a low dose Aspirin a day may help and there are trials underway at the moment. 

There is however, one thing that can help strengthen the bones to help fight against cancer spreading to the bones.  This is called Zometa/Zolodronic Acid.  This is suitable for all ladies with any type of breast cancer if they are post menopausal.

What is Zometa/Zolodronic Acid?

This isn't offered to all patients at the moment and depends on NHS funding in your area.  It is also only given to ladies who are post menopausal or ladies who already have metastatis to the bones.  The way my Oncologist describes how this works is as follows:-

"When bone is being made, there are good cells that help to form the bones and then there are bad cells that work against that to weaken the strength of the bones.  Zometa overrides the bad cells to strengthen the bones, which in turn helps them to repel attacks by cancer cells".

Zometa can be given in various ways and on varying timescales but the typical maintenance dose is one infusion every 6 months.  The patient is hooked up to a drip that delivers the Zometa in around 15 minutes.  After the first infusion, the patient may have side effects that include flu like symptoms and bone aches.  This normally only lasts for a few days but in some cases (and I'm one of them!), it can be quite debillitating so it's best to plan for this and reschedule your diary!  However, after each infusion, side effects (I'm told) do lessen.  I'll know in the next few weeks as I'm due to have the second infusion then!

Other Preventative Medicine

At the time of writing this page, I'm unaware of other drugs that specifically help Triple Negative patients but will update if I become aware of anything new.