Breast Cancer Pathology

Last Modified: January 24, 2012

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Question

I hear all these terms so often in regards to breast cancer: HR-positive/negative, HER-2/neu receptor, triple negative breast cancer. What do they mean and what is a "good" one to have?

Answer

Carolyn Vachani, RN, MSN, AOCN, OncoLink Nurse Educator, responds:

These are all terms used to describe the activity of the cells and how they respond to substances in the body such as hormones. These are all reported on your pathology report. You should get a copy of this report to keep in your records and share with other physicians. We have a nice guide to understanding your pathology report that would be helpful to look at with your own path report in hand. Find it here: http://www.oncolink.org/types/article.cfm?c=3&s=5&ss=838&id=9588

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Interpreting Test Results transcript.