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Patient to Patient: What You Need to Know About Cancer Immunotherapy

How does a cancer diagnosis interrupt your life? Why choose immunotherapy? Two patients offer two very different perspectives on life with cancer, choosing a clinical trial, and figuring out what's next in life. 

In this webinar designed for patients and caregivers, T.J. Sharpe and Donna Fernandez share their experiences with cancer immunotherapy as well as share advice for patients currently seeking or receiving immunotherapy treatment.

T.J. Sharpe HeadshotT.J. Sharpe was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma in 2012, just weeks after the birth of his second child. Not satisfied with the standard of care treatments offered to him, he and his family began exploring immunotherapy. Two clinical trials later, he is living a full life, now on maintenance Keytruda, devoting the bulk of his time to his family and to melanoma advocacy. T.J. writes a blog for philly.com called Patient 1. (The name of his blog was inspired by the first clinical trial he enrolled in at Moffit Cancer Center, in which he was the first patient ever to receive Yervoy and TIL (tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, a type of adoptive cell transfer).)

Donna Fernandez HeadshotDonna Fernandez was first diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in 2012, when she went to the doctor believing she had a thyroid problem. At the time, Donna was working full time and doing dog agility several nights a week and every weekend. Her tumors did not respond to chemotherapy, and when faced with beginning a second chemotherapy regimen, Donna instead enrolled in an immunotherapy trial of nivolumab (Opdivo). Donna responded immediately. Her scans show that the tumors have remained stable. Donna continues training with her two dogs, Cotton and Barney. She says, “Opdivo has let me live my life exactly how I want to. People talk about a “new normal” after cancer, but I don’t have a new normal. I’m still living my old normal.”

The "Cancer Immunotherapy and You" webinar series is produced by the Cancer Research Institute and is made possible with generous support from Bristol-Myers Squibb, with additional support from Regeneron, Sanofi Genzyme, and Adaptimmune.

Browse our Cancer Immunotherapy and You Webinar Series playlist on YouTube or visit the Webinars page on our website to see other webinars in this series.

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*Immunotherapy results may vary from patient to patient.

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