PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – There’s a major breakthrough in treating triple-negative breast cancer, which is a more aggressive type of breast cancer.
Laughter is one of the many things that keeps Siobhan Huck going. Truth is, she never thought she’d live to see her 40th birthday or meet her son. Siobhan was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer when she was 32 — and while she was nine weeks pregnant.
“Told you have cancer and 20 minutes later asking if you want to keep your baby is something no one ever expects to have to deal with,” she says.
Siobhan continued with the pregnancy and began chemotherapy the first day of her second trimester. Months later and a few weeks early, little Crosby — yes, named after Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby — was born.
He spent 19 days in the NIC at Magee. Today, he’s a healthy 7 year old. But Siobhan is still battling cancer, and Crosby and her husband Jonathan are what keep her fighting.
“I will do anything,” she says — including multiple clinical trials, which she’s done over the years, including one for a drug called Trodelvy.
“We took an antibody that binds to a very specific protein on triple-negative breast cancer and we attach a little bit of chemotherapy to it,” says Dr. Adam Brufsky, a medical oncologist at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.
“It’s like a magic bullet. It delivers the chemotherapy directly to the cancer.”
Dr. Brufsky calls this breakthrough incredible, since triple-negative breast cancer can be very difficult to treat.
“The fact that we’re actually able to take a drug and double the survival rate of triple-negative breast cancer that’s been through a lot of different chemotherapies already is a pretty big deal,” Dr. Brufsky says.
The FDA approved Trodelvy in April following several clinical trials. Since then, Dr. Brufsky has used it to treat some of his patients. Siobhan will soon be one of them.
“I hear very good things about it. I’ve spoken with my nurse. She has seen patients do wonderfully on it so it makes me feel a lot better. Dr. Brufsky is confident that this is the drug for me and can really help,” she says.
“I have hope. I have hope.”
Siobhan says she has hope that this new treatment will prevent her cancer from getting worse.
“I’m very appreciative of the life I have. We have the best friends you can ever ask for. We’re surrounded by good people. We have had so many adventures,” she says.
Like so many other cancer patients, Siobhan is a warrior. She says she won’t let cancer stop her from living each day to its fullest and she hopes this new treatment gives her many more of those days with her family.