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yoko katz August 29, 2014

Pertuzumab - Perjeta-, a new medicine, finally for me!

A great news for me!!! My insurance company approved me to have a new targeted therapy called Pertuzumab, or a brand name called Perjeta! Now my chemotherapy treatment is : TCH+Perjeta : docetaxel, carboplatin, and trastuzumab (Herceptin) and Pertuzumab (Perjeta) for HER2/neu positive tumors The last chemotherapy, I checked in at 11:45 AM and I was discharged at 6:45 pm... exhaustive.   Pertuzmab, US FDA approved the medicine only 2 years ago, 2012.  It comes in IV injection at a time of chemotherapy.  They call it targeted therapy rather than chemotherapy.  Pertuzumab targets my HER2 breast cancer cells.  Her2 is a protein and it can grow excessively around a cancer cell.  The cancer cell grow quickly with the Her2.  about 15-20% of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients have HER2 positive.  HER2 is more aggressive cancer than hormone based cancer.  It ranks aggressiveness and mine is the most aggressive kind, HER2 +++. Other targeted therapy for Her 2 is Trastuzumab (or Herceptin).  That was approved by the US FDA about 10 years ago for only advanced breast cancer patients and from 5 years ago, it was approved to use for early stage breast cancer patients.   Trastuzumab and Pertuzumab target HER2 but a slightly different way.  From medical researches, they found better prognosis and better recurrence rate if patients receive both of them, rather than only Trasuzumab. When I saw my oncologist for the first time, she mentioned of using Pertuzumab.  I have read about it, but no other specialists had mentioned it before.  Since side effects of Pertuzumab and Trastzumab are almost overlapping each other, adding Pertuzumab should not cause me extra stress. Day I called to make my 1st chemotherapy appointment, the doctor told me that she could not put Pertuzumab for me.  My tumor was smaller to qualify for it.  That was disappointing.  When it is not qualified, insurance companies may not cover the drug and it would cost us quite amount of money. Over 3 days, I thought of it a lot.  I started to look for information of the criteria.  I went to see FDA website and pharmaceutical company's information.  I stayed up late to do the research.  It sounded I was at a border whether to be able to receive it or not.  mmm.  I was not satisfied, something was not that clear to me. I contacted my doctor's office and asked for more information about it.  Later, according to my doctor's nurse, the doctor spent some time to write a letter to the insurance company for possible approval with my condition.  We had to wait for the insurance company's response, which could take 2-3 weeks.  Meanwhile, my 1st chemotherapy had started.  I thought the new target therapy Pertuzumab had to be done at the day 1 as well.  But I learned it could wait and I could start from later chemotherapy.  Good, I hoped for a good answer from the insurance company. This past Monday, I saw my doctor and she told me that the insurance company approved the medicine and I will be treated with Pertuzumab!  Thank you so much!!!!  I would like to choose to have a better outcome after going through this. From the 2nd chemotherapy, 2 days ago, I now have the Pertuzumab as well.  Let's hope for the best!

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