One woman's journey with lymphoma and taking an active role in healthcare decision-making
Posted: September 07, 2022 | Word Count: 1,259
Fulfilled by her loving marriage of more than 50 years, her faith and her family, Maggie was living the life she always dreamed of having. Then a car accident changed everything. At the hospital, while the doctors evaluated Maggie’s injuries from the incident, they also discovered enlarged lymph nodes. Then Maggie got the news no one wants to hear: “You have cancer.”
Specifically, Maggie was diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), the most common type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). DLBCL is a fast-growing cancer affecting B-lymphocytes, also known as B cells, a type of white blood cell that helps the body fight infections. As they develop, cancerous B cells become larger than normal and multiply uncontrollably.
For most of the approximately 28,000 people diagnosed with DLBCL in the U.S. each year, it is a treatable cancer, and Maggie was eager to beat it in partnership with her healthcare team.
“Shortly after learning of my DLBCL diagnosis, I started chemotherapy at the direction of my doctor, but unfortunately couldn’t tolerate the dose needed and the DLBCL returned,” said Maggie, who was one of up to 50% of patients whose DLBCL relapses (returns) or does not respond to treatment (becomes refractory).
Maggie and her oncologist then worked together to make decisions regarding next steps in her treatment plan. Based on Maggie’s lifestyle and preferences, they believed the best option for her was Monjuvi® (tafasitamab-cxix) – a targeted immunotherapy treatment given with another medicine called lenalidomide – because it did not require in-patient care and hospitalization that would take her away from her family.
Monjuvi is a prescription medicine given with lenalidomide to treat adults with certain types of DLBCL that has come back (relapsed) or that did not respond to previous treatment (refractory) and who cannot receive a stem cell transplant. It is not known if Monjuvi is safe and effective in children. The approval of Monjuvi is based on a type of response rate. There is an ongoing study to confirm the clinical benefit of Monjuvi.
“After my first treatment didn’t work as well as I’d hoped, I was encouraged to educate myself about my condition and available treatment options, including potential benefits and risks,” Maggie said. “Because of this, I felt better prepared to ensure my preferences were taken into account. I relied on the support of my husband, Buck, to get me through that difficult moment. He was with me every step of the way, and I knew I wanted to stay close to him and my family without long stays in the hospital for my next treatment.”
Buck’s involvement showed Maggie firsthand how caregivers and loved ones can play an important role in the shared decision-making process. He helped her process new information about the disease and treatment options that otherwise might have been overwhelming to hear alone. Maggie believes bringing loved ones to appointments can also be helpful for taking notes, recapping the discussion and assisting with navigating any important decisions needed following the appointment. She also says being informed and supported helped her stick with her treatment regimen.
Two years later, Maggie is now in remission. Her story highlights the importance of being proactive and honest with healthcare providers so that personal needs and choices can be considered as part of treatment decisions. This is Maggie's story. Everyone's story is different. Individual results may vary.
Treating serious diseases like DLBCL does not take a one-size-fits-all approach. If you or someone you know is dealing with a serious medical condition, consider asking the below questions when choosing your next treatment with your healthcare team:
- How will this treatment factor into my personal priorities, needs and preferences?
- How much support (including emotional and logistical) will I need from friends and family?
- Is this treatment different from the ones I’ve had before?
- Will I be able to continue treatment with my established healthcare team?
- How far will I need to travel for treatment? Will I need caregiver support to get there?
- How quickly can treatment begin?
- Will treatment be given on an outpatient basis, or will I need to be admitted to a hospital or treatment center?
If you, like Maggie, have DLBCL that came back or didn’t respond to the first treatment (relapsed or refractory DLBCL), start a conversation with your healthcare team about your options. To learn more about Monjuvi, DLBCL and for support and resources, visit www.Monjuvi.com.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
What are the possible side effects of MONJUVI?
MONJUVI may cause serious side effects, including
- Infusion reactions. Your healthcare provider will monitor you for infusion reactions during your infusion of MONJUVI. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get fever, chills, flushing, headache, or shortness of breath during an infusion of MONJUVI
- Low blood cell counts (platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells). Low blood cell counts are common with MONJUVI, but can also be serious or severe. Your healthcare provider will monitor your blood counts during treatment with MONJUVI. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get a fever of 100.4 °F (38 °C) or above, or any bruising or bleeding
- Infections. Serious infections, including infections that can cause death, have happened in people during treatment with MONJUVI and after the last dose. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get a fever of 100.4 °F (38 °C) or above, or develop any signs or symptoms of an infection
The most common side effects of MONJUVI include
- Feeling tired or weak
- Swelling of lower legs or hands
- Respiratory tract infection
- Decreased appetite
These are not all the possible side effects of MONJUVI. Your healthcare provider will give you medicines before each infusion to decrease your chance of infusion reactions. If you do not have any reactions, your healthcare provider may decide that you do not need these medicines with later infusions. Your healthcare provider may need to delay or completely stop treatment with MONJUVI if you have severe side effects.
Before you receive MONJUVI, tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions, including if you
- Have an active infection or have had one recently
- Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. MONJUVI may harm your unborn baby. You should not become pregnant during treatment with MONJUVI. Do not receive treatment with MONJUVI in combination with lenalidomide if you are pregnant because lenalidomide can cause birth defects and death of your unborn baby
- You should use an effective method of birth control (contraception) during treatment and for at least 3 months after your last dose of MONJUVI
- Tell your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant during treatment with MONJUVI
- Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if MONJUVI passes into your breastmilk. Do not breastfeed during treatment and for at least 3 months after your last dose of MONJUVI
You should also read the lenalidomide Medication Guide for important information about pregnancy, contraception, and blood and sperm donation.
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch. You may also report side effects to MORPHOSYS US INC. at (844) 667-1992.
DIRECTIONALS TO THE PI:
Please see the full Prescribing Information, including Patient Information, for additional Important Safety Information.
RC-US-TAF-01561 July 2022
Sponsored by: MorphoSys US Inc and Incyte