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Janet Klein

Age 59

Sherman Oaks, California

Living a Good Life With Stage 4 Breast Cancer Thanks to Palbociclib

I was diagnosed with stage 4, recurrent breast cancer in April 2009. After surgery, I was offered the chance to participate in a phase I clinical trial testing a new drug for exactly the type of breast cancer I had—stage 4 estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer. I jumped at the chance and have been taking palbociclib (Ibrance) and letrozole ever since. Within 9 months of starting the trial, there was no evidence of cancer in my body. My quality of life is extraordinary and I continue to do everything that I want to.

It all started in October 2005, with a phone call from my gynecologist a day or two after my annual mammogram. I was always vigilant and made sure to have annual mammograms because my mother survived breast cancer twice, the first time 40 years ago. My sister also survived breast cancer. I had always assumed that it would eventually be my turn and hoped that the mammograms would detect it early. I was fortunate; the diagnosis turned out to be stage 1 estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer.

Right after my diagnosis, I met with a number of surgeons to learn about the options for my surgery. I chose a surgeon at UCLA because she was able to do reconstruction surgery at the same time as a bilateral mastectomy [surgery to remove all of both breasts]. I was back at work just four weeks after surgery, traveling and living my life.

I then met with an oncologist and started a five-year course of tamoxifen therapy. I also chose to continue having yearly mammograms, even though this was not standard of care at the time, which is lucky because this is how my recurrence was caught.




See Janet's Story