Unlike other types of breast cancer, a triple-negative diagnosis doesn’t have any of the common receptors found in other breast cancers, presenting potential treatment challenges to patients and providers. To assist patients with triple-negative breast cancer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created a new virtual program, allowing patients to consult and ask questions to a virtual coach in the comfort of their own homes.
Typically, what would be common terminology to providers—often bantered in everyday conversations—is not necessarily understood by newly diagnosed patients. Many explanations and terms can be intimidating, causing patients to withdraw or face barriers during their treatment journey. CDC’s virtual coach, named Linda, helps relieve the pressure of asking questions to help demystify the uncertainties associated with a triple-negative breast cancer diagnosis. Linda is a triple-negative breast cancer survivor who shares her own journey with the disease.
Included in CDC’s information is the need for patients to talk with their providers about whether they need dedicated genetic counseling to help understand the inherited risk for certain diseases. For example, people with Ashkenazi Jewish heritage have been found to have higher risks of developing certain types of cancers, including triple-negative breast cancer. Understanding the risks, proper prevention tactics, and what resources patients have available to them can help individuals navigate the complexities of a potential cancer diagnosis.
CDC has several other programs addressing the impact of breast cancer on women throughout the United States. Efforts like the Bring Your Brave campaign, National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, and others are shining a light on what women need to know and what they can do to address potential risks for developing breast cancer.