The Path Forward to Improve Triple Negative Breast Cancer Outcomes

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Continued Research and Investment is Needed to Improve Triple Negative Breast Cancer Outcomes

March 22, 2023

Ten years since we first recognized TNBC Awareness Day in 2013, there is much to celebrate, much to reflect on, and much still to do. We celebrate those who have survived triple negative breast cancer and continue to thrive. We reflect on the progress to treat and manage TNBC and reach patients and communities disproportionately impacted by the disease. And we recognize – as advocacy communities and triple-negative breast cancer patients, survivors, and thrivers – that there remains an urgency to advance solutions to deter and defeat this aggressive form of breast cancer. Education, prevention, early detection, and optimal care delivery give patients the best chance against TNBC. However, we need better policy solutions and more attention on TNBC if we are going to collectively defeat this disease.

To commemorate the progress made to date, the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation was proud to join TOUCH, the Black Breast Cancer Alliance, Cancer Fashionista, and breast cancer advocates this March for a special Congressional briefing with U.S. Representatives Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) and Robin Kelly (D-IL). The briefing highlighted the national impact of TNBC awareness activities and created a forum for open dialogue between lawmakers and the TNBC advocacy community to discuss the need for continued research, investment, and support services to improve outcomes for all women diagnosed with or at risk of TNBC.

While TNBC affects all women, Black, brown, and younger women are affected at much higher rates, with nearly 1 in 5 Black women diagnosed with TNBC. During the congressional briefing, speakers emphasized the importance of early detection as women are now diagnosed with TNBC at later stages and at younger ages. Women are also succumbing to the disease at record rates. To help save lives, we must also increase diversity and participation in clinical trials to discover new and innovative treatments that help women manage their condition more effectively to improve their quality of life.

Our advocacy efforts have helped provide a path forward to improve outcomes for all women at risk of or diagnosed with TNBC. However, beyond the milestone of TNBC Awareness Day and briefing events, we must remain vigilant to help women who will face this deadly disease in their lifetime. Washington must make education around TNBC a priority and continue to support the SCREENS for Cancer Act, which is critical to modernizing cancer care programs, including the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, to ensure women get the care they need when they need it.

The Biden Administration has set an ambitious and laudable goal to end cancer as we know it, and the recent release of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) National Cancer Plan proves that the effort is there to address all forms of cancer, including TNBC. The eight goals outlined in the HHS National Cancer Plan include the prevention of cancer, early detection, the development of effective treatments, and the elimination of inequities, all of which are needed to eradicate TNBC and other devastating forms of cancer. The plan also opens the door for collaboration among patient advocates, patients, and policymakers to achieve these collective goals which is so pivotal.

The Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation, and all TNBC patient and provider advocates, have made significant progress in the last ten years. However, opportunities remain to increase education about the disease, help women get linked to care, locate resources after a diagnosis and during treatment, and create innovative treatments for women nationwide.

For TNBC patients, survivors, and their families: stay engaged because we need your voice as these efforts continue.