LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — For people with breast cancer, the time spent receiving treatment, coordinating care and traveling to doctor’s appointments can be overwhelming.
Monica Ellis was diagnosed with “HER2-positive breast cancer” three weeks before her 40th birthday.
It’s one of the most aggressive types of breast cancer.
“I had a mastectomy and then I received my chemotherapy plus HER2 targeted therapy via an infusion on my chest,” Ellis said.
Every 21 days, she spent six to eight hours in the hospital receiving IV infusions.
“The treatments, they were really long and tiring. And while I was in the hospital, I was also struggling mentally and physically to juggle with my work and my family life,” Ellis said.
Dr. Julie Nangia said in addition to understanding your type of cancer. It’s important to know ahead of time everything involved with your treatment options.
Experts are now encouraging researchers to include data regarding time spent receiving treatment, coordinating care and traveling to doctor’s appointments in future studies,
So patients understand the time-related burdens associated with treatment, “That’s going to impact their everyday life, their job schedules, how they can take care of their families. We, we really need to bring that into the conversation early on,” Nangia said.
Ellis started a new treatment that would reduce her time in the hospital every month.
An injection called PHESGO gave her more time with family, and allowed her to continue with her career. “It’s approved for patients that have stage two, three or four, HER2 positive breast cancer, in combination with a medicine called docetaxel or chemotherapy.
Ellis has this advice for anyone newly diagnosed with breast cancer: “To advocate for themselves, to stay always in contact with their healthcare provider and to take one day at a time.”
The PHESGO injection requires 15-30 minutes in the hospital versus eight hours.