LUMINAL A – ESTROGEN RELATED BREAST CANCER
Estrogen is a female sex hormone produced by the ovaries, adrenal gland, placenta and fat. Too much Estrogen in the body can cause cells to divide, proliferate and mutate to cause breast cancer.
ESTROGEN TUMORS CAN BE UNDERSTOOD AS EITHER,
I remember the oncologist telling me almost immediately that my breast cancer was Estrogen related though it meant little to me at the time. However, I had taken an HRT contraceptive pill when I was younger and then later when suffering from menopause. A flash of guilt passed through me though I was strongly advised not to blame myself and I’m passing that onto you whether you took those pills or not.
Anyway, it turns out that the speed of the dividing cells determines the seriousness of breast cancer. Estrogen-positive breast cancer is deemed to be less serious because the mutated cells do not split as fast as other types like, for example, Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC).
On the other hand, Estrogen tumors from an East African perspective, might not be the same as that for white Europeans. In Ethiopia, Estrogen breast cancer is said to be quite aggressive but once again, we don’t have sufficient research nor data to be sure.
THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF ESTROGEN BREAST CANCER:
In general, Estrogen-positive is not as serious as the other one because Estrogen-negative does not have a receptor and that is not a good thing for those diagnosed with ER-negative breast cancer.
WHAT IS A RECEPTOR?
Receptors sit on top of cancer cells like little light switches that can be flicked off or on. By way of these switches (read receptors), communication is made to the cancer cells telling them to multiply, or not. In the case of Estrogen positive (ER+), the light switch is turned ‘on’ so the mutated cells keep dividing and will do so unless the switch is turned ‘off’.
Luckily, there are drug treatments that can turn off the ER+ receptor. The drug doesn’t necessarily kill the cancer so much as blocks the mutated cell from growing. Unfortunately, ER- tumors do not respond to anti-Estrogen therapy so have poor outcomes.
Treatments can be personally targeted because of the presence of those receptors. This means the lack of a receptor makes it difficult to treat the tumor because the signals that identify cancer cell growth go unseen. The speed at which the cells mutate in breast cancers that don’t have receptors is also much faster and therefore is more dangerous. In effect, a fire starts from an unknown source, and nobody knows how to put it out properly. That’s what you’ve got with Estrogen-negative breast cancer.
HOW COMMON IS ESTROGEN RELATED BREAST CANCER?
Estrogen status is more distinguishable by race/ethnicity than any other type of breast cancer. ER+ is also the most common form of breast cancer among white European women – about 80 per cent. Even though a great deal has been said about TNBC as being more prevalent in black women (compared to all ethnic groups including white women), most black women with breast cancer in the UK and the US, have hormone-receptor-positive tumors.
I say hormone receptor positive instead of ER+ because this also includes the hormone progesterone (PR) which frequently mirrors Estrogen. When ER+ is present so too is PR+ often present. At the same time,
ER-NEGATIVE BREAST CANCER IS COMMON AMONG:
TO EMPHASIS THE AFRICAN HERITAGE ER+ POINT
THE GENERAL GLOBAL PATTERN IS SIMILAR TO THE US
OTHER POSSIBLE LINKS TO ER TUMORS INCLUDE: