Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Triple negative

This was an inspiring TODAY show segment (~5 min) about Jennifer Griffin, a 40 year-old reporter and mother of three who was diagnosed with Stage 3 “triple negative" breast cancer 5 months ago.

This designation of triple negative is relatively new and means the tumor is negative for both estrogen and progesterone receptors (ER/PR) and the HER2 protein. It is an aggressive form of breast cancer, occurs in about 15% of breast cancers, and is not susceptible to hormonal treatments (but is susceptible to chemotherapy).

Triple negative breast cancers tend to occur in younger women. In Jennifer’s case, it was 8cm - about the size of a lemon - and had been masked by pregnancy and breast-feeding.
Jennifer emphasizes the important of exercise throughout her treatment. “You need to exercise every day.” She looks amazing, and as they say in the segment, “she’s in the best shape of her life.”

When she shaved her head before losing her hair to chemo, Jennifer said, “When I first looked at myself in the mirror, I felt very strong… like I was a warrior.”

I also liked how she said she never goes out without her “body armor” – which includes her wig and her lipstick – to make sure she doesn’t feel like a sick person.

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