(BPT) - A few weeks after graduating with her master’s degree, Kaye felt a lump near her armpit. When it didn’t go away after a few weeks, she went to her doctor. A biopsy confirmed it was cancer.
Kaye, a 31-year-old woman living in Orange County, California, was 28 years old when she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), the most advanced stage of the disease which occurs when cancer has spread beyond the breast to other parts of the body, including the bones, liver, lungs or brain.,
Young women with breast cancer tend to have more aggressive cancers as well as unique challenges compared to older women with breast cancer. In the U.S., the incidence of MBC at diagnosis increased in women ages 25-39 by 2% each year from 1976 to 2009. No other age group of women living with MBC had a similar increase rate.
“When I was first diagnosed, I experienced so much emotional pain. I felt like I was losing all the best parts of my life and taking them away from my husband—having children, planning a future, retirement.”
After Kaye was diagnosed she started hormone receptor blocking treatments that kept her cancer at bay until October 2015, when a routine PET scan showed the cancer had spread. Kaye once again felt the emotional pain of when she was first diagnosed.
She discussed the risks and benefits of treatment options with her oncologist, who prescribed an oral medicine called IBRANCE® (palbociclib) in combination with fulvestrant, which is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for women whose metastatic breast cancer is HR+/HER2- and has progressed following endocrine therapy. This combination, when taken with a LHRH agonist, can be an option for premenopausal women like Kaye.
“Metastatic breast cancer incidence in young women like Kaye is rising, and these women are underrepresented in research studies and often not eligible for them,” said Julia Perkins Smith, Vice President of Oncology Medical, North America for Pfizer, the company that developed IBRANCE. “IBRANCE was approved in combination with fulvestrant based on results from a clinical trial that included premenopausal women. It’s important for patients to find support and understand the treatment options available to them.”
“At 28, I had to accept the fact that I would be on treatment for the rest of my life," says Kaye. "Learning how to let go of the negative and accept help has impacted my life in such a positive way.”
For more stories about women living with MBC and to learn more about IBRANCE, visit MBCtogether.com.
IBRANCE® (palbociclib) INDICATIONS AND IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
IBRANCE® (palbociclib) 125 mg capsules is a prescription medicine used to treat hormone receptor-positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2-) breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic) in combination with:
- an aromatase inhibitor as the first hormonal based therapy in women who have gone through menopause, or
- fulvestrant in women with disease progression following hormonal therapy.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
IBRANCE may cause serious side effects, including:
Low white blood cell counts (neutropenia). Low white blood cell counts are very common when taking IBRANCE and may cause serious infections that can lead to death. Your doctor should check your white blood cell counts before and during treatment.
If you develop low white blood cell counts during treatment with IBRANCE, your doctor may stop your treatment, decrease your dose, or may tell you to wait to begin your treatment cycle. Tell your doctor right away if you have signs and symptoms of low white blood cell counts or infections such as fever and chills.
Before you take IBRANCE, tell your doctor if you:
- have fever, chills, or any other signs or symptoms of infection.
- have liver or kidney problems.
- have any other medical conditions.
- are pregnant or plan to become pregnant; IBRANCE can harm your unborn baby.
- Females who are able to become pregnant and who take IBRANCE should use effective birth control during treatment and for at least 3 weeks after stopping IBRANCE.
- Males who are taking IBRANCE and have female partners who can become pregnant should use effective birth control during treatment with IBRANCE and for 3 months after the final dose of IBRANCE.
- are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed; it is not known if IBRANCE passes into your breast milk. You and your doctor should decide if you will take IBRANCE or breastfeed. You should not do both.
Common side effects of IBRANCE include:
- Low red blood cell counts and low platelet counts. Call your doctor right away if you develop any of these symptoms during treatment:
- shortness of breath
- bleeding or bruising more easily
Other common side effects include: infections, tiredness, nausea, sore mouth, abnormalities in liver blood tests, diarrhea, hair thinning or hair loss, vomiting, rash, and loss of appetite.
IBRANCE may cause fertility problems in males. This may affect your ability to father a child. Talk to your doctor if this is a concern for you.
These are not all of the possible side effects of IBRANCE. For more information, ask your doctor. Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away.
Tell your doctor about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. IBRANCE and other medicines may affect each other, causing side effects.
Do not drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit products while taking IBRANCE as they may increase the amount of IBRANCE in your blood.
Tell your doctor if you start a new medicine. Take IBRANCE exactly as your doctor tells you.
If you take too much IBRANCE, call your doctor right away or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
 National Cancer Institute. What you need to know about™ breast cancer. http://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/WYNTK_breast.pdf. Updated August 2012. Accessed November 9, 2017.
 American Cancer Society. Breast cancer. http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003090-pdf.pdf. Accessed November 9, 2017.
 Johnson RH, et al. Incidence of breast cancer with distant involvement among women in the United States, 1976 to 2009. JAMA. 2013;309(8):800-805. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/1656255. Accessed June 19, 2017.
 IBRANCE (palbociclib) Prescribing Information. 2017. Pfizer Inc, New York, NY.
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