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Methodist opens one-of-a-kind triple negative breast cancer clinic

Houston, TX - 7/12/2011

For a woman with no family history of cancer, 60-year-old Brenda Sorrells was shocked to discover that a lump on her sternum was later diagnosed as triple negative breast cancer, a rare form of cancer that can be highly aggressive and is only present in about 15 percent of breast cancer patients.

Breast cancer is usually diagnosed based on three common receptors known to help the cancer develop. The cells in triple negative breast cancer do not express any of these receptors, making them generally unresponsive to standard treatments. This type of cancer can be especially aggressive and there is a greater chance of recurrence. In order to help patients with this particular type of cancer, The Methodist Cancer Center recently opened a triple negative breast cancer clinic, the first of its kind in the nation.

“At Methodist’s triple negative breast cancer clinic, patients have access to services including genetic counseling, psychosocial support, nutritional counseling, lymphedema management and even massage therapy,” said Dr. Angel Rodriguez, the clinic’s director. “This clinic focuses efforts on a type of breast cancer that is very difficult to treat, giving women convenient access to these services.”Research shows this highly aggressive form of cancer accounts for half of all breast cancer deaths. The only method for treating it right now is chemotherapy, but current therapies most effectively target only the three common receptors.

“The support I have received from the entire Methodist team has given me the confidence to get back into my daily routine and continue living my life,” said Sorrells, who recently began participating in clinical trials in hopes of enhancing her treatment along with chemotherapy.

“We’re always looking for better and more promising treatments that might increase our chances of finding a cure. Through clinical trials, our patients have the opportunity to explore other options that could be beneficial toward their treatment,” said Rodriguez, a breast medical oncologist.

For more information on the Methodist Cancer Center, visit us online or call 713-790-2700.

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