Currently Viewing
TEST: Your Doctor Can Help By Being Your Advocate
Jim Kelly's Cancer Journey: Trophies, Tragedies and Triumphs
August 25, 2017 – Mathew Shanley
End-of-Life Care Is Suboptimal in Elderly Patients With AML
August 25, 2017 – Jason Harris
Understanding Genomic Testing in Breast Cancer
August 24, 2017 – Danielle Bucco
Collaboration Is Key in MDS Research
August 24, 2017 – Brielle Urciuoli
J&J Ordered to pay $417 Million in Ovarian Cancer Case
August 23, 2017 – Brielle Urciuoli
Women More Likely to Survive Essential Thrombocythemia Than Men
August 23, 2017 – Brielle Urciuoli
XPO1 Inhibitor Offers Novel Mechanism for Treating Penta-Refractory Myeloma
August 23, 2017 – Ariela Katz
A New Drug Is in the Pipeline for AML
August 22, 2017 – Angelica Welch

TEST: Your Doctor Can Help By Being Your Advocate

When Emmaly heard the words “you may have cancer,” it was the furthest thing from the mind of this 29-year-old professional.
PUBLISHED August 26, 2017
Sponsored Content

When Emmaly heard the words “you may have cancer,” it was the furthest thing from the mind of this 29-year-old professional.
What had started with coughing progressed to fluid in her heart and lungs, and quickly snowballed into a hospital visit and CT scans showing swollen lymph nodes. As the tests to confirm a diagnosis continued and different possibilities were eliminated, the reality of those words drew closer. It took a few weeks, and while the initial shock of her illness wore off, there was nothing anyone could say to her that made it easy to digest – the diagnosis was stage 4 classical Hodgkin lymphoma.

Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer that starts in white blood cells called lymphocytes, which are part of the body’s immune system. Hodgkin lymphoma is most common in early adulthood (a person’s 20s), and the risk rises again in late adulthood (after age 55). According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that 8,110 patients in the United States will be diagnosed this year. It is also slightly more common in males than females, as well as those with a weakened immune system or family history of the disease.

With a diagnosis at hand, Emmaly and her doctor sat down to discuss her treatment options. When diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, many people receive a chemotherapy regimen of adriamycin, bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine (ABVD). However, after reviewing her case, Emmaly’s oncologist suggested another treatment option that showed better outcomes in clinical trials than the standard of care for the last 40 years. For Emmaly’s doctor, it wasn’t as simple as writing a prescription since the treatment option – ADCETRIS® (brentuximab vedotin) – was still under review with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at the time. Her doctor advocated to receive authorization from the hospital board of directors and Emmaly’s insurance company prior to the first round of treatment.

ADCETRIS is now approved for the treatment of adults newly diagnosed with stage 3 or 4 classical Hodgkin lymphoma in combination with chemotherapy, adriamycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine (AVD). Prior to FDA approval, patients were historically treated with a chemotherapy regimen that included bleomycin, which can cause unpredictable and sometimes fatal lung toxicity. ADCETRIS in combination with chemotherapy is bleomycin-free, and studies show that patients treated were 30% less likely be at risk of disease progression or death compared to patients treated with traditional chemotherapy (ABVD) alone.

Each individual Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis is different, so it’s important to remember that patients should speak with their doctor about treatment options and side effects. ADCETRIS has side effects, including possible lung toxicity, low numbers of red blood cells, low numbers of white blood cells, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, constipation, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, weight loss, mouth sores and abdominal pain. Please read the Important Safety Information, including BOXED WARNING, below.

Emmaly ended up receiving 12 rounds of treatment with what became a new treatment advancement for newly diagnosed stage 3 or 4 Hodgkin lymphoma patients. “I wanted to take control of my cancer,” Emmaly said. “My oncologist did everything she could to make sure I had access to the treatment, which was new at the time, and as a result I felt confident that I was putting myself in a good position to beat this cancer.”

During the early stages of treatment, Emmaly felt very weak and needed a lot of assistance to walk and get around the house. The road to recovery was not quick and had its up and downs, including hair loss, but Emmaly was fortunate enough to have her mother by her side, as well as her oncologist and a network of family and friends supporting her along the way.

While there were moments in Emmaly’s cancer treatment journey that she questioned whether she and her doctor had made the right decision, being in remission was the ultimate reassurance. 

“My doctor really got it. We faced this cancer obstacle together as a team, set a plan and did what we had to do to get me better,” said Emmaly. “I’m truly grateful for the support I received from my family, friends, and doctor, and am excited for the new experiences I’ve been able to have – like traveling and participating in a camp for those affected by cancer.”

For more information on ADCETRIS, including Important Safety Information, please visit To help you talk to your doctor about the best treatment option for your diagnosis, download a guide for Questions to Ask Your Doctor.

This content is brought to you by Seattle Genetics, Inc., the maker of ADCETRIS (brentuximab vedotin).

Individual experiences may vary and information shared in this article is not intended to replace discussions with your doctor. Talk to your doctor to see if ADCETRIS may be right for you.


ADCETRIS® (brentuximab vedotin) is approved for the treatment of:
  • Previously untreated Stage 3 or 4 cHL: Adult patients with newly diagnosed Stage 3 or 4 classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) in combination with chemotherapy (adriamycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine)
  • Consolidation therapy in cHL: Adult patients with cHL at high risk of coming back or becoming worse after a stem cell transplant (SCT)
  • Relapsed cHL: Adult patients with cHL after an SCT fails or after at least 2 combination chemotherapy treatments fail and SCT is not an option
  • Previously untreated sALCL or other CD30-expressing PTCL: Adult patients with newly diagnosed systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma (sALCL) or other CD30-expressing peripheral T-cell lymphomas (PTCL), including angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma and PTCL not otherwise specified, in combination with chemotherapy (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and prednisone)
  • Relapsed sALCL: Adult patients with sALCL after at least 1 combination chemotherapy treatment fails
  • Relapsed pcALCL or CD30-expressing MF: Adult patients with primary cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphoma (pcALCL) or CD30-expressing mycosis fungoides (MF) who have received prior systemic therapy (treatment that reaches and affects the entire body)
Important Safety Information

What is the most important serious safety information I should know about ADCETRIS?
  • PROGRESSIVE MULTIFOCAL LEUKOENCEPHALOPATHY (PML): Patients who are treated with ADCETRIS can have a rare, serious infection of the brain called PML. It can cause death. Symptoms started at different times after starting ADCETRIS treatment, some within 3 months after the first dose. Other possible causes of PML are prior treatments or diseases that weakened the patient’s immune system.
  • ADCETRIS should not be taken with bleomycin because of possible side effects in the lungs.
What are the other possible serious side effects of ADCETRIS?
  • Nerve damage: Peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) that mostly involves numbness or tingling in the hands or feet (sensory) and/or weakness in the arms or legs (motor). Symptoms increase with more doses. Your doctor may change or stop your ADCETRIS dose depending on the severity of your symptoms.
  • Allergic and infusion reactions: Allergic reactions, including severe forms, during infusion or up to 24 hours after administration of ADCETRIS. Patients who had a reaction with earlier doses should receive premedication with later doses, which may include acetaminophen, an antihistamine, and a corticosteroid.
  • Blood problems: Serious cases, including deaths, of fever with a low number of white blood cells have occurred with ADCETRIS. ADCETRIS may also cause a low number of white blood cells lasting a week or more, with or without fever. A low number of platelets (which help the blood clot) or red blood cells has also occurred with ADCETRIS.
    Your doctor will give you a medicine called growth factor starting with your first dose if you are receiving ADCETRIS in combination with chemotherapy to treat Stage 3 or 4 cHL or PTCL. Growth factor is meant to prevent you from having a low number of white blood cells.
    Your blood counts will be checked before each dose, more often if necessary. You will be monitored for fever. If your white blood cell count is too low, your doctor may delay your next infusion, lower your dose, stop your ADCETRIS therapy, or give you growth factor with future doses of ADCETRIS.
  • Infections: Serious infections, including deaths, that occur when your immune system is weakened, such as pneumonia, bacteremia, and sepsis or septic shock.
  • Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS): You will be closely monitored for TLS if you have a tumor that grows quickly or have many tumor cells throughout your body.
  • Patients with severe kidney disease may have more side effects and deaths compared to patients with normal kidney function and should avoid use of ADCETRIS.
  • Patients with moderate or severe liver disease may have more side effects and deaths compared to patients with normal liver function and should avoid use of ADCETRIS.
  • Liver injury: Serious liver problems, including deaths, have been reported after the first dose of ADCETRIS and after ADCETRIS was stopped and restarted. Your liver function will be monitored. Having liver problems, raised liver enzymes, and some medicines may increase the risk. Your doctor may delay your next infusion, lower your dose, or stop your ADCETRIS therapy if you have liver problems.
  • Lung problems: Serious lung problems, including deaths, have been reported. If you have symptoms, your doctor may hold your ADCETRIS therapy until they improve.
  • Skin problems: Rare but serious skin conditions, including deaths, called Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN). If either occurs, your doctor will stop ADCETRIS and treat you for symptoms.
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) problems: Serious problems, including deaths, related to the pancreas, stomach, intestine, and colon have been reported. Lymphoma that involves the stomach or intestine may increase the risk of GI perforation (hole in the stomach or intestine).
  • Fetal harm: ADCETRIS can harm a fetus (unborn baby). Women should not become pregnant while taking ADCETRIS and for at least 6 months after the last dose of ADCETRIS.
What were the most common side effects in clinical trials?
1269 patients were treated with ADCETRIS in clinical trials (used with chemotherapy, or on its own). The most common side effects in any study were nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy) that mostly involves numbness or tingling in the hands or feet (sensory) and/or weakness in the arms or legs (motor), feeling tired, nausea, diarrhea, a low number of white blood cells, infection of the nose or sinuses, fever, constipation, vomiting, hair loss, weight loss, upper stomach pain, a low number of red blood cells, sores or swelling in the mouth, a low number of lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell), and sores or swelling in the digestive tract.

What should I tell my doctor before I start treatment with ADCETRIS?
  • Tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. ADCETRIS should be avoided if you have severe kidney disease or moderate or severe liver disease.
  • Tell your doctor about any medicine you are taking (including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements) because it is possible for ADCETRIS to interact with certain types of drugs.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not take ADCETRIS while pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Women should use effective birth control while taking ADCETRIS and for at least 6 months after the final dose of ADCETRIS.
  • Men with female partners should use effective birth control while taking ADCETRIS and for at least 6 months after the final dose of ADCETRIS.
Contact your doctor if you experience any of the following:
  • Symptoms of nerve damage: Tingling, burning, or numbness in the hands or feet. Changes in sense of touch or trouble moving the hands or feet.
  • Symptoms of infection: Fever of 100.5°F or higher, chills, cough, or pain upon urination.
  • Symptoms of infusion reaction: Fever, chills, rash, or breathing problems within 24 hours of infusion.
  • Symptoms of liver injury: Fatigue, anorexia, upper stomach pain, dark urine, yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice).
  • Symptoms of PML: Changes in mood or usual behavior. Confusion, thinking problems, or loss of memory. Changes in vision, speech, or walking. Decreased strength or weakness on one side of the body.
  • Symptoms of lung problems: New or worsening cough or shortness of breath.
  • Symptoms of acute pancreatitis: Severe abdominal pain.
  • Symptoms of GI problems: Severe stomach pain, chills, fever, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Pregnancy: Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not receive ADCETRIS. ADCETRIS can harm a fetus (unborn baby).
  • Any other side effects that are bothersome or do not go away.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088. 

Please see full Prescribing Information, including BOXED WARNING.

US-BVP-19-272-PR 8/19
Be the first to discuss this article on CURE's forum. >>
Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the Lymphoma Cancer CURE discussion group.

Related Articles


Sign In

Not a member? Sign up now!

Sign Up

Are you a member? Please Log In