Luminal A breast cancer is positive for oestrogen receptor and/or progesterone receptor and negative for HER2, which stands for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2. These are all growth signals that may be present on breast cancer cells. HER2 is a protein normally produced by the body. If a patient is HER2 negative it means they have a normal amount of HER2 protein.

How Common is Luminal A Breast Cancer?

Luminal A breast cancer is the most common subtype of breast cancer. It accounts for around 30-45% of all breast cancers diagnosed. Luminal A breast cancers are more commonly described as hormone receptor positive/HER2 negative, ER positive/HER2 negative, PR positive/HER2 negative or ER positive/PR positive/HER2 negative. The luminal A molecular subtype classification requires a special test to be done on a sample of the cancer and is more often used in research circumstances than in discussions with patients.

What are the Symptoms of Luminal A Breast Cancer?

Some patients diagnosed with Luminal A may not present with any symptoms and are diagnosed on screening mammogram. When symptoms are present, they may include:

  • A new lump in the breast, armpit area or around the collarbone
  • Thickening or hardening in the breast
  • A change in breast size or shape
  • Changes to the nipple, such as sores or crusting, an ulcer or inverted nipple
  • Clear or bloody nipple discharge
  • Changes to the skin including redness, puckering, or dimpling (an ‘orange peel’ appearance)
  • Breast tenderness or pain

If the cancer has progressed to the metastatic stage, further symptoms may be present depending on where the cancer has spread. Learn more about metastatic breast cancer here.

How is Luminal A Breast Cancer Diagnosed?

Luminal A breast cancer will be diagnosed in the same way as most other breast cancers. This includes a mammogram or other imaging tests. A biopsy will most likely be ordered to determine which subtype of breast cancer is present. This will help the treatment team plan treatment for the cancer.

If the breast cancer has spread and metastasised, further tests may be required to determine the size and location of the metastatic breast cancer.

How is Luminal A Breast Cancer Treated?

As Luminal A cancers are hormone receptor positive, patients with early-stage breast cancer who undergo breast surgery may receive hormonal treatments to block hormones from fuelling cancer growth. These can include drugs such as tamoxifen, anastrozole or letrozole which are taken daily for at least five years after all other breast cancer treatments are completed. These treatments can include surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. Luminal A breast cancer may also present as metastatic, and hormone blocking medications are also used in that situation, often along with other medications to control the cancer for as long as possible. In the case of metastatic cancer, the medications continue for as long as they are effective and tolerable.

What are my chances of survival (prognosis) if I am diagnosed with Luminal A Breast Cancer?

Luminal A tumours grow at a slower rate than other cancer types, which means this subtype has a better prognosis.

However, your age, stage of disease and tumour type has the greatest impact on your chance of survival. Those diagnosed with stage one breast cancer have an almost 100% chance of surviving five years post diagnosis, however those diagnosed with stage four Luminal A breast cancer have a 50% chance of surviving five years post diagnosis.

Overall, the five-year survival rate for women diagnosed with breast cancer is 91.5%, and 86.4% for men.

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