Triple-negative breast cancer survivor finds hope with clinical trial

A little over a year ago, Robbie Johnson was desperately searching for the right metastatic breast cancer treatment. "I’d been receiving no treatment, and I knew the cancer was spreading throughout my body,” she says. “My husband and I were mentally at a very low point.” Robbie was initially diagnosed with HER2 breast cancer in October 2013. She underwent treatment in her home state of South Carolina, but 2 years later, a nurse practitioner noticed a lump near her collar bone during a follow-up appointment. A biopsy confirmed that the cancer had returned. This time, though, doctors were a lot less certain about the type of breast cancer she had, with the hospital changing her diagnosis from HER2 to triple-negative and back to HER2. A triple-negative breast cancer diagnosis Following triple negative chemo treatment, she underwent surgery in in March 2016 to remove the lump below her collarbone and followed up with HER2 chemo treatment until July 2016.  At the end of July, the lump below her collarbone returned. CT and bone scans confirmed the cancer was spreading all over her body. Her doctors stopped all medications with the hopes of enrolling her into a clinical trial, but those plans kept stalling. Fed up, she did her own research and decided MD Anderson was where she should go. A second opinion from another doctor recommended she head straight to MD Anderson. On Sept. 2, 2016, Robbie met with Sadia Saleem, M.D., and she hasn’t looked back. “Dr. Saleem listened. She was accessible and she personally called us back and talked to us several times that first week we were...