You're not alone

These patients are traveling a journey—from the day they received a devastating diagnosis. Each has their own story, but in every case these patients made sure that their opinions were voiced. They outlined their treatment goals, how they wanted to communicate, and discussed all of their options with their doctors. Take a look at where they've been and where they are today. We hope their advice, empowerment, and unique experiences inspire you.

Select a patient profile to view their story:

 
 

Meet Sharon

Patient Stories: Meet Shannon

Diagnosis:

Stage IV melanoma, lung metastases

What I was fighting for:

I was just out of college. You’re fighting for the rest of your life.

What gave me hope:

I had come off a year of chemo. I wasn't optimistic. Then that first scan, a few weeks after the 4 YERVOY treatments, surprised us all. The radiologist who read the scans couldn't believe my results. It wasn't all good, though. I did experience some side effects along the way—extreme chills, thyroid and stomach issues.

  • For information about clinical trial results with YERVOY, click here
  • For information about the serious side effects with YERVOY, click here

My inspirations:

Today it has to be my kids. And then sometimes it's when I meet people who've heard my story and they say because of you, I told so-and-so to go do this or that. And because of you, they're still here.

What I'd tell someone just diagnosed:

Be your best advocate and realize that you can do research on your diagnosis and different treatment options. It's good to go to your doctor ready to talk, not just to listen.

Find a doctor you can trust—and see them immediately. I had a wonderful doctor with great resources. That doesn't happen for everybody.

Find a really good support system. I lost some friends who couldn't deal with it. But some were there the whole time. They treated me like Sharon, not like a cancer patient, and we had fun together. Because you don't want to be reminded all the time.

Don't wait to do the things that make you happy. Go do it. That day. Find something else—anything else—that you can be passionate about that gets your mind off the cancer for a little while.

Talking treatment:

We really didn't discuss treatment too much. I probably would question a whole lot more today but when I was first diagnosed, I was naïve and in shock. And I didn't know the questions to ask.

The role of caregiver:

I think the caregivers have the hardest job that they're not given credit for. It was worse for my husband. We were just about to get married. It makes 'for better, for worse,' a whole lot more meaningful.

What makes me, me:

I'm opinionated and strong-willed. I have an all-or-nothing attitude.

Meet Rick

Patient Stories: Meet Rick

I was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma, and I knew I was in trouble. I was scared. I could not fathom leaving my wife and kids behind. My wife's family had lost so many to cancer. Very close members of her family that were taken way too early. That was really hard. But the idea that somebody's got to try to break this chain was a source of strength.

My doctor and I decided on YERVOY. He was very positive. He also let me know that it wouldn't work for everyone. But after the fourth infusion, my wife and I came back to the office when the scans had been evaluated. I knew something was up.

The door opened and a flood of people came in—all of the nurses, the scheduler out front, the lady who handles the insurance forms. They told me the melanoma was responding to YERVOY. Hope... it's the single-most important thing, and you can carry that with you.

My doctor asked us to be very proactive with all of the side effects. He said I should be most concerned about colitis. I had night sweats. Along with fever, I had rash on my skin.

I don't know how much longer I had when I started with YERVOY, but it was a fork in the road and I couldn't possibly exaggerate what it's meant to me.

  • For information about clinical trial results with YERVOY, click here
  • For information about the serious side effects with YERVOY, click here

Meet Jim

Patient Stories: Meet Jim

I can remember the day. It was December 28th. I got up, and all of a sudden I felt this huge lump on my left side. All the melanoma that I had prior to that had been on my right side. The CAT scans showed it had spread throughout my body. The cancer was making its move and something needed to be done.

Emotionally, when you think about the possibility of dying, you need a way of rationalizing it. I have to do what I can to try to beat this, because I have a wife that I love and three sons that I want to be here for.

My doctor suggested YERVOY. He told me to expect some tiredness, diarrhea, itching, and rash. He explained, "Jim, this is dealing with your immune system. It's thought to allow your own immune system to help fight melanoma.*" What they've discovered—it's just amazing.

After the last YERVOY infusion, I went for CAT scans. They called me up a few days later to let me know that the cancer had regressed. I couldn't believe it.

To the researchers, the doctors, the folks who work with them, I can only say thank you. Your efforts are providing a chance for people like me. I'm very thankful that I'm an encouraging example. It's given me a chance to give back and to help others.

  • For information about clinical trial results with YERVOY, click here
  • For information about the serious side effects with YERVOY, click here

*YERVOY is thought to work by helping to boost your body's natural immune system—your personal weapon against metastatic melanoma. YERVOY may not work in all patients and may affect healthy cells too, which could result in serious side effects in many parts of your body.

SET YOUR GOALS Decide what’s important to you, then share with your doctor. Learn more
YOUR WORDS CAN HELPHere's your chance to inspire others by sharing your experiences.Tell your story
 
 

YERVOY® (ipilimumab) can cause serious side effects in many parts of your body which can lead to death. These serious side effects may include: problems of the intestines, liver, skin, nerves, hormone glands (especially the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands), and eyes. These serious side effects may lead to further complications.

These problems may happen any time during treatment with YERVOY or after you have completed treatment. Your healthcare provider should perform blood tests, such as liver, hormone, and thyroid function tests, before starting and during treatment with YERVOY. Call your healthcare provider if you have any signs or symptoms or if they get worse. Even seemingly mild symptoms can lead to severe or even life-threatening conditions if not addressed. Do not try to treat symptoms yourself.

The most common side effects of YERVOY are tiredness, diarrhea, itching, rash, nausea, vomiting, headache, weight loss, fever, decreased appetite, and difficulty falling or staying asleep. Please see the additional Important Safety Information, including Boxed WARNING regarding immune-mediated side effects, below.

Patients who received YERVOY alone and patients who took YERVOY plus another experimental drug showed a median overall survival of 10 months. Patients who took the experimental drug alone showed a median overall survival of 6 months. Over the course of the study, treatment with YERVOY decreased the risk of death by about one third compared to patients who received the experimental drug.

The major goal was to measure how long patients lived with YERVOY in combination with the experimental drug compared to the experimental drug alone. The study included 676 unresectable or metastatic melanoma patients who were previously treated with one or more of the following: aldesleukin, dacarbazine, temozolomide, fotemustine, or carboplatin.

YERVOY will not work for every patient. Individual results will vary. It is important to ask your doctor if YERVOY is right for you.

All of these patient stories are unscripted. Some participants were paid for their time and use of their voice and likeness on this website. Experiences described by patients in videos may not be typical. If you are considering treatment or are receiving treatment with YERVOY, you should discuss the potential benefits and risks of this therapy with your healthcare provider.

Additionally, the information provided on this website is no substitute for talking to your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider is the best source of information about your disease.

More Important Safety Information +

Important Safety Information about YERVOY® (ipilimumab)

YERVOY can cause serious side effects in many parts of your body which can lead to death. These serious side effects may include: intestinal problems (colitis) that can cause tears or holes (perforation) in the intestines; liver problems (hepatitis) that can lead to liver failure; skin problems that can lead to severe skin reaction; nerve problems that can lead to paralysis; hormone gland problems (especially the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands); and eye problems.

These problems may happen anytime during treatment with YERVOY or after you have completed treatment. Getting medical treatment right away may keep the problem from becoming more serious. Your healthcare provider will check you for these problems during treatment with YERVOY. Your healthcare provider may treat you with corticosteroid medicines. Your healthcare provider should perform blood tests, such as liver, hormone, and thyroid function tests, before starting and during treatment with YERVOY. Your healthcare provider may need to delay or completely stop treatment with YERVOY, if you have severe side effects.

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away. Even seemingly mild symptoms can lead to severe or even life-threatening conditions if not addressed. Do not try to treat symptoms yourself.

Serious side effects may include:

  • Intestinal problems (colitis) that can cause tears or holes (perforation) in the intestines. Signs and symptoms of colitis may include: diarrhea (loose stools) or more bowel movements than usual; blood in your stools or dark, tarry, sticky stools; and stomach pain (abdominal pain) or tenderness
  • Liver problems (hepatitis) that can lead to liver failure. Signs and symptoms of hepatitis may include: yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes; dark urine (tea colored); nausea or vomiting; pain on the right side of your stomach; and bleeding or bruise more easily than normal
  • Skin problems that can lead to severe skin reactions. Signs and symptoms of severe skin reactions may include: skin rash with or without itching; sores in your mouth; and your skin blisters and/or peels
  • Nerve problems that can lead to paralysis. Symptoms of nerve problems may include: unusual weakness of legs, arms, or face; and numbness or tingling in hands or feet
  • Hormone gland problems (especially the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands). Signs and symptoms that your glands are not working properly may include: persistent or unusual headaches; unusual sluggishness; feeling cold all the time; weight gain; changes in mood or behavior such as decreased sex drive, irritability, or forgetfulness; and dizziness or fainting
  • Eye problems. Symptoms may include: blurry vision, double vision, or other vision problems; and eye pain or redness

Pregnancy and Nursing:

  • Before you receive YERVOY, tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. YERVOY can harm your unborn baby. Females who are able to become pregnant should use effective birth control during treatment with YERVOY and for 3 months after the last dose of YERVOY. Before you receive YERVOY, tell your healthcare provider if you are breast-feeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if YERVOY passes into your breast milk. Do not breastfeed during treatment with YERVOY and for 3 months after the last dose of YERVOY.

Tell your healthcare provider about:

  • All your medical conditions, including if you: have immune system problems (autoimmune disease), such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, lupus, or sarcoidosis; have had an organ transplant; and have liver problems
  • All the medicines you take including: all prescription and over-the-counter medicines; vitamins; and herbal supplements

Know the medicines you take. Keep a list to show your healthcare provider and pharmacists each time you get a new medicine. You should not start a new medicine before you talk with the healthcare provider who prescribes you YERVOY.

The most common side effects of YERVOY include: tiredness, diarrhea, itching, rash, nausea, vomiting, headache, weight loss, fever, decreased appetite, and difficulty falling or staying asleep.

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away. These are not all of the possible side effects of YERVOY. For more information, ask your healthcare provider.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Please see U.S. Full Prescribing Information, including Boxed WARNING regarding immune-mediated side effects, and Medication Guide for YERVOY.

Indication

YERVOY® (ipilimumab) is a prescription medicine used in adults to treat melanoma (a kind of skin cancer) that has spread (metastatic) or cannot be removed by surgery (unresectable).

It is not known if YERVOY is safe and effective in children less than 18 years of age.