When we learned that they couldn’t operate anymore, we weren’t going to take that as our final answer. We weren’t going to give up.- Dawn, Ed's wife, reflecting on Ed's journey with advanced kidney cancer
A determined husband, father, and grandfather, Ed has kept fighting advanced kidney cancer no matter what. Since his diagnosis, Ed believes that the support from his family, a positive mental attitude, and hope have combined to help him deal with uncertainty.
So, when Ed’s cancer returned and he learned that surgery was no longer an option, he and his family were left feeling lost.
Ed’s uncertainty quickly gave way to his usual “whatever I have to do” mentality. Ed and his wife, Dawn, were determined to do everything they could to move forward.
Dawn had been hearing about immunotherapy throughout Ed’s treatment, so after talking through the options together with Ed's doctor, they decided on KEYTRUDA + axitinib.
As Ed went through treatment, his entire family came together in support of him—especially Dawn. She was at every single appointment with a pen in hand, taking notes. “He was focused on feeling better… I was the one who would talk to the doctors, ask the questions, keep the records, and I was acting as his advocate in every way that I could.”
Ed’s treatment was close to where his son Mike lives, which gave Ed a chance to visit him more often. “Every time he was getting treatment, he would come over to our house and we would have a meal,” Mike recalls. “These dinners became a tradition with our family.”
Ed experienced some side effects during his treatment, like nausea and tiredness. From the start of treatment, Ed leaned on his family to get through everything.
After starting KEYTRUDA + axitinib, Ed and his family saw the results they were looking for.
We gave it a shot, and after I started my treatment, my scans started to look better.- Ed, on his results with KEYTRUDA + axitinib
"After my diagnosis, I knew I had to keep fighting. It's just who I am," Ed recalls.
After his diagnosis, Ed learned to look at life in much more simple terms. He recalls reminding himself, “Just keep on keepin’ on. There’s one goal. Do not waver, do not deviate. You just go do it.” His glass-half-full attitude has become an inspiration for his entire family.
At their most recent get-together, Ed's son Mike sums it up: “He doesn’t quit. Every time he got bad news, he always looked at the positive and said we’re going to fight this. And there was a time where I just remember thinking ‘he can’t go through anything else,’ but it didn’t matter to him. He was going to keep going and he did.”
Experiences with KEYTRUDA differ among individuals. KEYTRUDA will not work for everyone, and it's important to be informed about possible side effects. Always talk to your doctor or health care team if you have questions about your treatment.
KEYTRUDA is a prescription medicine used to treat a kind of kidney cancer called renal cell carcinoma (RCC). It may be used with the medicine axitinib as your first treatment when your kidney cancer has spread or cannot be removed by surgery (advanced RCC).
KEYTRUDA is a medicine that may treat certain cancers by working with your immune system. KEYTRUDA can cause your immune system to attack normal organs and tissues in any area of your body and can affect the way they work. These problems can sometimes become severe or life-threatening and can lead to death. You can have more than one of these problems at the same time. These problems may happen any time during treatment or even after your treatment has ended.
Call or see your health care provider right away if you develop any signs or symptoms of the following problems or if they get worse. These are not all of the signs and symptoms of immune system problems that can happen with KEYTRUDA:
Lung problems: cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain.
Intestinal problems: diarrhea (loose stools) or more frequent bowel movements than usual; stools that are black, tarry, sticky, or have blood or mucus; or severe stomach-area (abdomen) pain or tenderness.
Liver problems: yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes; severe nausea or vomiting; pain on the right side of your stomach area (abdomen); dark urine (tea colored); or bleeding or bruising more easily than normal.
Hormone gland problems: headaches that will not go away or unusual headaches; eye sensitivity to light; eye problems; rapid heartbeat; increased sweating; extreme tiredness; weight gain or weight loss; feeling more hungry or thirsty than usual; urinating more often than usual; hair loss; feeling cold; constipation; your voice gets deeper; dizziness or fainting; changes in mood or behavior, such as decreased sex drive, irritability, or forgetfulness.
Kidney problems: decrease in the amount of your urine; blood in your urine; swelling of your ankles; loss of appetite.
Skin problems: rash; itching; skin blistering or peeling; painful sores or ulcers in your mouth or in your nose, throat, or genital area; fever or flu-like symptoms; swollen lymph nodes.
Problems can also happen in other organs and tissues. Signs and symptoms of these problems may include: chest pain; irregular heartbeat; shortness of breath; swelling of ankles; confusion; sleepiness; memory problems; changes in mood or behavior; stiff neck; balance problems; tingling or numbness of the arms or legs; double vision; blurry vision; sensitivity to light; eye pain; changes in eyesight; persistent or severe muscle pain or weakness; muscle cramps; low red blood cells; bruising.
Infusion reactions that can sometimes be severe or life-threatening. Signs and symptoms of infusion reactions may include chills or shaking, itching or rash, flushing, shortness of breath or wheezing, dizziness, feeling like passing out, fever, and back pain.
Rejection of a transplanted organ. Your health care provider should tell you what signs and symptoms you should report and they will monitor you, depending on the type of organ transplant that you have had.
Complications, including graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), in people who have received a bone marrow (stem cell) transplant that uses donor stem cells (allogeneic). These complications can be serious and can lead to death. These complications may happen if you underwent transplantation either before or after being treated with KEYTRUDA. Your health care provider will monitor you for these complications.
Getting medical treatment right away may help keep these problems from becoming more serious. Your health care provider will check you for these problems during treatment with KEYTRUDA. They may treat you with corticosteroid or hormone replacement medicines. They may also need to delay or completely stop treatment with KEYTRUDA if you have severe side effects.
Before you receive KEYTRUDA, tell your health care provider if you have immune system problems such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or lupus; have had an organ transplant or have had or plan to have a bone marrow (stem cell) transplant that uses donor stem cells (allogeneic); have had radiation treatment in your chest area; have a condition that affects your nervous system, such as myasthenia gravis or Guillain-Barré syndrome.
If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, tell your health care provider. KEYTRUDA can harm your unborn baby. If you are able to become pregnant, you will be given a pregnancy test before you start treatment. Use effective birth control during treatment and for at least 4 months after your final dose of KEYTRUDA. Tell them right away if you think you may be pregnant or you become pregnant during treatment with KEYTRUDA.
Tell your health care provider if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if KEYTRUDA passes into your breast milk. Do not breastfeed during treatment with KEYTRUDA and for 4 months after your final dose of KEYTRUDA.
Tell your health care provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Common side effects of KEYTRUDA when used alone include feeling tired; pain, including pain in muscles, bones or joints and stomach area (abdominal) pain; decreased appetite; itching; diarrhea; nausea; rash; fever; cough; shortness of breath; and constipation.
In children, when KEYTRUDA is used alone, fever, vomiting, upper respiratory tract infection, headache, and low levels of white blood cells and red blood cells (anemia) are more common than in adults.
Common side effects of KEYTRUDA when given with certain chemotherapy medicines include feeling tired or weak; nausea; constipation; diarrhea; decreased appetite; rash; vomiting; cough; trouble breathing; fever; hair loss; inflammation of the nerves that may cause pain, weakness, and paralysis in the arms and legs; swelling of the lining of the mouth, nose, eyes, throat, intestines, or vagina; mouth sores; headache; and weight loss.
Common side effects of KEYTRUDA when given with axitinib include diarrhea; feeling tired or weak; high blood pressure; liver problems; low levels of thyroid hormone; decreased appetite; blisters or rash on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet; nausea; mouth sores or swelling of the lining of the mouth, nose, eyes, throat, intestines, or vagina; hoarseness; rash; cough; and constipation.
These are not all the possible side effects of KEYTRUDA. Talk to your health care provider for medical advice about side effects.