breasties
Breast Cancer

It’s a New Day for Triple Negative Breast Cancer Breasties

When I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer and told I had two years to live eight years ago, I asked my doctors, “Why isn’t there a viable therapy for triple negative breast cancer? Is it because it only represents 15 percent of breast cancers? Is it because the mortality rate is so high and the patients die very quickly? Is it because TNBC over-indexes among African American women? Why doesn’t TNBC get the attention from pharmaceutical companies for research investment?” As I’ve said often to my breasties, it probably was all of the above at the time.

A triple negative breast cancer diagnosis is devastating. To date, there have been no TNBC-specific treatment options and it is the only breast cancer sub-type that does not have a drug to prevent recurrence. According to the only national study conducted for TNBC and black women, African American women have 2.3 times higher odds of being diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer. Among women diagnosed with breast cancer, those diagnosed at late stages were 69 percent more likely to have triple-negative.  

Metastatic (stage 4) triple negative breast cancer is an aggressive cancer with one of the poorest prognoses due to a lack of existing treatment options. The five-year survival rate is less than 30 percent. I have too often seen the debilitating impact on the quality of life for my breasties (the name I call my breast cancer sisters) with late-stage cancer who have had an extensive treatment history.

Related:
Many Black Women With Cancer Don’t Get Life-Saving Drug

Well, someone at Immunomedics must have heard me whining and went to work to find a solution, and I am thankful that I am blessed to be here to see this day.

Trodelvy from Immunomedics is here! This new drug will give the precious gift of time to my metastatic TNBC sisters. I have been an ambassador for the Immunomedics Live Humanly Campaign, a social media platform for cancer warriors and survivors. I’ve been blessed to meet several breasties who participated in the clinical trial research and watched them go from struggling with their disease to thriving and living their best lives. I watched Trodelvy give them light and hope and the most precious gift of time.

Trodelvy is the first FDA-approved ADC treatment option for patients with mTNBC who have received at least two prior therapies for metastatic disease. This new treatment option brings hope to our mTNBC  breasties and their loved ones. Trodelvy allows our warriors to maintain a consistent treatment regimen for a longer period of time, with relatively manageable tolerability, giving them a good quality of life.

“The triple negative breast cancer community is encouraged by the launch of Trodelvy,” said Hayley Dinerman, co-founder and executive director of the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation. “Time and hope are precious gifts for our metastatic warriors.”

Remarkably, 7.4 percent of the Trodelvy clinical trial participants were African American women. This may not sound like a lot, but since 2015, the breast cancer drugs approved by the FDA have had a paltry 2.5 percent black participation. This participation level is unsurpassed and speaks volumes of Immunomedics and their commitment to addressing the specific needs of breast cancer in black women.

Related:
How Can We Recruit Minorities Into Cancer Clinical Trials?

“As a TNBC patient, it was overwhelming to be diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer with no targeted treatment,” said Maimah Karmo, president and founder of the Tigerlily Foundation. “For 14 years, as a patient advocate and leader, I’ve been committed to helping patients get the right treatments when they need it, and, until now, we have had no treatment for TNBC MBC patients. Thanks to Immunomedics, we now have Trodelvy, which will make a difference in many lives. We are thrilled for the many patients who now have hope and a new treatment option.”

Immunomedics is a change agent and Trodelvy is a game changer. As a very blessed TNBC survivor, I embrace my responsibility to stand up and fight like a girl for my warrior sisters. Let this be a message to our TNBC community that many prayers have been answered! Help me spread the word that Trodelvy is readily available and will give my TNBC breasties the opportunity to live their best lives. Ask your doctor, breasties, and get more information at Trodelvy.com.

—Ricki Fairley

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