Just like patients with most other cancers, patients with TNBC may benefit from support from peers. However, patients with TNBC typically feel they cannot relate to women with other types of breast cancer because of the vast differences in treatment options and the higher risk of recurrence.
Because they often feel disconnected from the general breast cancer population, many TNBC patients have unmet psychosocial needs.2 Connecting patients with TNBC-specific support is the key. This can be challenging, as TNBC support groups are limited. Here are some helpful support resources that can be referred to patients.
Online support groups and forums Online communities allow women to connect from all over the world. CancerCare, 800-813-4673, provides an online TNBC patient support group facilitated by an oncology social worker. Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation, 877-800-TNBC (8622), hosts an online patient forum where people can ask questions and interact with other TNBC patients, caregivers, and survivors.
If a patient is experiencing persistent anxiety or depression, encourage her to pursue treatment from a mental health professional, such as an oncology social worker or psychiatrist.
Victoria Puzo is oncology social worker at CancerCare.
1. Hartsock MA. Guide to Understanding Triple Negative Breast Cancer. 3rd ed. Haverford, PA: Living Beyond Breast Cancer; 2013.
2. LeBrasseur N, Van Epps HL. Targeting the triple threat. Cure. 2009;8(3):48-53.