Public invited to learn about aggressive subtype of breast cancer; RSVP by Feb. 28

February 25, 2014 | Events, UToday, Medicine and Life Sciences, UTMC
By Samantha Watson

The most successful breast cancer treatments target three receptors, but what happens when none of these receptors are present?

triple negative breast cancer logo with dateThat’s the case in patients who are diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, a rare and sometimes aggressive subtype of breast cancer. Their condition is the focus of a new public outreach effort.

The University of Toledo Medical Center will host “A Different Shade of Pink” Monday, March 3, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in recognition of Triple Negative Breast Cancer Day to educate the public about the disease. The event will be held at the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center.

Triple negative breast cancer occurs when estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 — the three receptors known to fuel breast cancer — aren’t present.

Because only 15 of every 100 breast cancer diagnoses are triple negative, many are unaware of what the disease entails and what options are available for treatment. The disease also is often hard to diagnose because it is more common in younger women and is not always detected in mammograms.

“I had a friend pass away from triple negative breast cancer a year ago at age 26,” said Melissa Paskvan, UT Medical Center patient who was diagnosed with this type of breast cancer in 2009 and has been in remission for four years. “A lot of people think it’s a grandma’s disease, but it’s not. It could strike anyone at any time.”

Topics for the “A Different Shade of Pink” event will include treatment options, clinical trials, genetic testing, the role of exercise, survivorship services and more. The event will begin with a social hour and food with the program starting at 6 p.m.

“One of the important roles of an academic medical center like UTMC is education and outreach,” said Dr. Iman Mohamed, associate dean of medical school admissions and chief of the UTMC Division of Hematology and Oncology. “We invite anyone impacted by triple negative breast cancer or those curious about the disease to attend this event and learn more about it.”

“I hope people walk out of this feeling more informed of this disease and the treatments available,” Paskvan said.

To hear Paskvan’s story, read her blog at Paskvan also is raising money for triple negative breast cancer; donations can be made at

To RSVP to the “A Different Shade of Pink” event, email Janelle Tipton, oncology clinical nurse specialist, at by Friday, Feb. 28.

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