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Finding a Cure to Aggressive Breast Cancer, Triple Negative

Finding a Cure to Aggressive Breast Cancer, Triple Negative

This month is breast cancer awareness month, so we’ve taken an in depth look with Professor Derek Richard from Queensland’s Cancer & Ageing Research Foundation at the risk factors and treatments available for the disease that impacts far too many of us. His lab is tirelessly working to find a cure for the most aggressive form of breast cancer, triple negative. We are so passionate at Ellus & Krue about empowering people to live better lives for longer, that we donate 20% of each purchase to help fund the incredible work of Professor Derek Richard and his team of researchers and scientists to stop cancer before it starts.  

The risk of getting cancer in your lifetime is approaching 70% and it's a disease that doesn’t discriminate. Around three women under the age of 40 are diagnosed with breast cancer every day in Australia.

“There are some risk factors of breast cancer that you can’t do anything about, some women and men are born with mutations to their genetic code and this results in a higher chance of developing breast cancer in your lifetime,” explains Professor Richard. 

The most well known mutation is brca1 and brca2, these two genes repair genetic code however some people are born with only a single copy of the gene and this increases their chance of getting breast cancer. 

“Breast tissue is particularly susceptible to genetic damage because of estrogen and if you are missing a brca1 or brca2 gene, when damage occurs to the breast tissue, mutations are more likely to occur which ultimately drives cancer,” explains Professor Richard. The best way to determine if you carry the brca1 or brca2 gene is to undergo genetic testing.

“Ultimately most women can’t make lifestyle choices to prevent them getting breast cancer as environmental factors account for 30% of cancers and 70% are driven by factors that you cannot control such as genetics and age,” explains Professor Richard.

Women should regularly check themselves and be on the lookout for;

  • A change to the nipple, such as crusting, ulcer, redness or inversio
  • A nipple discharge that occurs without squeezing
  • A change in the skin over your breast such as redness or dimpling
  • An unusual pain that doesn’t go away

Source: Cancer Australia, Australian Government 

Fortunately the treatment for breast cancer has advanced significantly over the past 15 years with a five year survival rate of 90%. As there are so many different treatments now available, clinicians give women a personalised targeted treatment plan by looking at the patient’s genetics and other markers to decide on the best drug that suits that individual woman. 

“Breast cancer is a disease of a thousand different origins, every patient's disease is slightly different. Around 5% of breast cancer patients have exactly the same type of cancer and we know what drug works best for which group, however the trouble with triple negative breast cancer is that it’s not responsive to many drugs and is very aggressive,” states Professor Richard. 

“In our labs, we are working on triple negative breast cancer, as it only has a survival rate of 70% after five years. So we have focused our efforts on studying this type of cancer and one of our avenues of research is trying to understand why we get cancer in the first place. We have a drug under development that you would start taking in your forties to stop your risk of getting cancer doubling, so that only 10% of people develop cancer in their lifetime rather than 70%. Our ultimate goal is to prevent cancer, making people live not only longer lives, but healthier lives,” said Professor Richard. 

Finding a cure to cancer is not inexpensive, scientists such as those at the Cancer & Ageing Research Foundation rely heavily on donations from philanthropic individuals and companies rather than Government funding which is why we donate a portion of every sale of Ellus & Krue product to the help fund this important cancer and ageing research. 

About Ellus & Krue

Ellus & Krue is innovative evidence based skincare. Their mission is to empower everyone with healthy skin at any age and support research into cancer and ageing. The entire Australian made range is designed for maximum hydration and is vegan, cruelty, paraben, glycol and SLSs free. The EPI-gN™ Serum is a collaboration with cancer and ageing scientist Professor Derek Richard and 20% of each purchase from the range is donated to cancer research. Ellus & Krue is BCorp accredited having met the highest standard of social and environmental performance. Available online only, visit

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