How Monica Took an Active Role in Her Breast Cancer Treatment Journey


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“You have breast cancer.” These four words echo in your head as your mind swirls with questions. You ask yourself… “what comes next?”... “What does this mean for my family?”... “How will I navigate treatment options?” It all can feel so overwhelming. But for Monica, there was one unwavering truth: she wouldn't let cancer steal her identity and was determined to hold on to herself.

At just 40 years old, Monica was diagnosed with HER2-positive breast cancer—one of the most aggressive types of breast cancer. With the future of her family, career, and life on her mind, getting started on treatment was critical.

Monica, who is living with HER2-positive breast cancer.

Monica, who is living with HER2-positive breast cancer.

After a mastectomy, she received chemotherapy plus two HER2-targeted therapies via IV infusion. Her treatment schedule was time-consuming and strenuous. “Every 21 days, I would spend five to six hours in the hospital receiving IV infusions through a port in my chest. I was struggling to juggle work and my family,” Monica says. “I knew something had to change for my next phase of treatment, which did not involve chemotherapy.” For her, this meant finding a treatment plan that would be a better fit for her lifestyle.

Working alongside her healthcare team, Monica learned about Phesgo® (pertuzumab/trastuzumab/hyaluronidase-zzxf). Phesgo combines the same two HER2 therapies she was receiving into one injection that can be given under the skin of the thigh rather than IV infusions. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in combination with chemotherapy before surgery as part of a complete treatment regimen for HER2-positive early breast cancer, and after surgery in adults with HER2-positive early breast cancer that has a high likelihood of returning.

Monica and her doctor discussed the benefits and risks associated with Phesgo, including the most serious potential side effects, such as heart and lung problems. Although Monica was not pregnant when she was diagnosed and started treatment, she was advised about the risks that Phesgo poses to pregnant women. Use of Phesgo in pregnant women may result in serious risks to the unborn baby, including death and birth defects. Please see below for more important safety information about Phesgo.

Phesgo is administered by Monica’s doctor every three weeks and takes approximately five minutes (or approximately eight minutes for the initial dose), and Monica sits for 15-30 minutes afterward while she’s monitored for any adverse reactions. Her administration experience is consistent with results from a recent clinical study that found administration of Phesgo took on average less than a third of the chair time needed for administration of the same two HER2 therapies via IV infusions, although individual results may vary.1

With a faster administration time, Phesgo may help give patients more time for what matters. “I prefer this faster treatment approach because I don’t have to spend as much time in the clinic. Now I have more time on treatment days for the things that are most important to me, like spending time with my friends and family, including my new grandchild,” Monica says.

Monica with her grandchild.

Monica with her grandchild.

Every person’s breast cancer story is different, which is why it’s important to work closely with your healthcare team to figure out what treatment option is best for you. For Monica, Phesgo was the option that gave her the chance to spend more time on treatment days focusing on things that bring her joy. “It's easy to lose yourself. You're worried about how your family is coping, the status of your job, and the everyday demands of life,” she says.

While there were many factors to consider when it came to Monica’s personal treatment journey, taking an active role in her care helped make a difference. She hopes her story can inspire others to work with their healthcare team to figure out a plan that fits their lifestyle and treatment goals, all while staying true to themselves throughout the process.

“I would encourage fellow survivors to prioritize themselves, listen to their bodies, and slowly get back to doing the things they love,” Monica says.

If you have HER2-positive breast cancer, start a conversation with your healthcare team about your options.

To learn more about Phesgo, visit

Important Safety Information & Uses

What does PHESGO treat?

PHESGO® (pertuzumab, trastuzumab, and hyaluronidase-zzxf) is a prescription medicine approved for use in combination with chemotherapy for:

  • use prior to surgery (neoadjuvant treatment) in adults with HER2-positive, locally advanced, inflammatory, or early stage breast cancer (tumor is greater than 2 cm in diameter or node-positive). PHESGO should be used as part of a complete treatment regimen for early breast cancer.
  • use after surgery (adjuvant treatment) in adults with HER2-positive early breast cancer that has a high likelihood of coming back.

PHESGO is a prescription medicine approved for use in combination with docetaxel in adults who have HER2-positive breast cancer that has spread to different parts of the body (metastatic) and who have not received anti-HER2 therapy or chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer.

What are the most serious side effects of PHESGO?

PHESGO may cause heart problems, including those without symptoms (such as reduced heart function) and those with symptoms (such as congestive heart failure).

  • The risk for and seriousness of these heart problems are highest in people who received both PHESGO and a certain type of chemotherapy (anthracycline)
  • Your doctor will check for signs of heart problems before, during, and after treatment with PHESGO. Based on test results, your doctor may hold or discontinue treatment with PHESGO
  • Contact a healthcare professional immediately for any of the following: new onset or worsening shortness of breath, cough, swelling of the ankles/legs, swelling of the face, palpitations, weight gain of more than 5 pounds in 24 hours, dizziness or loss of consciousness

Receiving PHESGO during pregnancy can result in the death of an unborn baby and birth defects.

  • Birth control should be used while receiving PHESGO and for 7 months after your last dose of PHESGO. If you are a mother who is breastfeeding, you should talk with your doctor about either stopping breastfeeding or stopping PHESGO
  • If you think you may be pregnant, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately
  • If you are exposed to PHESGO during pregnancy, or become pregnant while receiving PHESGO or within 7 months following the last dose of PHESGO, you are encouraged to report PHESGO exposure to Genentech at 1-888-835-2555

PHESGO may cause serious lung problems.

Your doctor may check for signs of lung problems including:

  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Fluid in or around the lungs
  • Weakening of the valve between the heart and the lungs
  • Not enough oxygen in the body
  • Swelling of the lungs
  • Scarring of the lungs

Who should not receive PHESGO?

  • PHESGO should not be used in patients who are allergic to pertuzumab, trastuzumab, hyaluronidase, or to any of the ingredients in PHESGO

What are other possible serious side effects?

  • PHESGO may worsen low white blood cell counts caused by chemotherapy: Low white blood cell counts can be life threatening and were seen more often in patients receiving Herceptin® (trastuzumab) plus chemotherapy than in patients receiving chemotherapy alone. Your doctor may check for signs of low white blood cell counts when he or she examines you
  • PHESGO may cause administration-related reactions: PHESGO is given as an injection. The active ingredients in PHESGO have been associated with severe administration reactions, including hypersensitivity or anaphylaxis, which can be fatal. Talk to your doctor if you feel any symptoms. The most common symptoms include dizziness, nausea, chills, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, hives, swelling of the skin, breathing problems, or chest pain

What are the most common side effects?

The most common side effects of PHESGO when given with chemotherapy as part of an early breast cancer regimen are:

  • Hair Loss
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Low levels of red blood cells
  • Weakness

The most common side effects of PHESGO when given with docetaxel for treatment of breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic) are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Low levels of white blood cells with or without fever
  • Nausea
  • Feeling tired
  • Rash
  • Damage to the nerves (numbness, tingling, pain in hands/feet)

What should I know about side effects with PHESGO?

  • Not all people have serious side effects; however, side effects with PHESGO therapy are common. It is important to know what side effects may happen and what symptoms you should watch for
  • Your doctor may stop treatment if serious side effects happen. Be sure to contact your healthcare team right away if you have questions or are worried about any side effects

You are encouraged to report side effects to Genentech and the FDA. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or You may also report side effects to Genentech at 1-888-835-2555.

Talk to a healthcare professional for more information about the benefits and risks of PHESGO.

Please see full Prescribing Information for additional Important Safety Information, including most serious side effects.

If you cannot afford your medication, visit for financial assistance information. 1-888-835-2555.


  1. Waks A, et al. Patient time burden with IV vs SC administration of trastuzumab/pertuzumab (HP): a Time and Motion substudy of a single arm phase II trial of adjuvant endocrine therapy plus, HP for stage I HER2+ breast cancer. Poster presented at: San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, December 5-9, 2023; San Antonio, TX.