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Cancer Survivor Hopes Taxotere Lawsuit will Channel her Anger

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Seattle, WA“With all the bad side effects of cancer that I have had to endure, losing my hair permanently because of taxotere was the worst,” says Glenda, a breast cancer survivor. “I will never be talked into Chemo again!”

Glenda (not her real name) was given Taxatore as part of her chemotherapy treatment more than four years ago. She was never informed about its possible long-term side effects. “At first I was very angry with my oncologist for not giving me other chemotherapy drug options but after talking with him, I believe the drug company kept him in the dark about Taxotere causing alopecia.”

Sanofi-Aventis, the manufacturer, is facing many lawsuits by women like Glenda who are saying the drug company didn’t warn them of Alopecia—permanent and severe hair loss.

Although several chemotherapy drugs are listed on Cancer.net to treat breast cancer besides Docetaxel (generic for Taxotere), oncologists use Taxotere to treat up to 75 percent of breast cancer patients. In a number of studies Taxotere performed better than other drugs in extending survival of breast cancer patients, according to Drugwatch. A study published in The Oncologist (2005) evaluated a number of clinical trials and concluded that chemotherapeutic agents such as the taxanes (Taxotere is a taxane), has helped to improve survival outcomes in metastatic breast cancer.

“I have always had a lot of thick hair and I kept it long—I was very proud of my hair,” says Judy (not her real name). “When I first started chemo treatment the weight of my hair actually caused pain, but not nearly as much pain as I have now with so many bald spots. I don’t even have eyebrows anymore. Sure, I’m glad to be a breast cancer survivor but every time I look in the mirror I’m reminded of it.”

In 2013 Judy was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer. She was treated with surgery, radiation and taxotere chemotherapy. After going through so much, Judy is justifiably angry with Sanofi for not informing her doctors of permanent hair loss. Like Glenda, she too spoke with her oncologist and G.P, neither of whom knew about Taxotere causing alopecia.

“Some of my hair came back but only in patches. And I don’t have any hair under my arms—no great loss there,” Judy says with a chuckle. “But every time I go out I’m in a quandary: are people looking at me, should I wear a wig? I’m angry with Sanofi and by pursuing a Taxotere lawsuit I hope to channel my anger.”


Taxotere Statistics
• About 3 million women in the U.S. are living with breast cancer, according to Breastcancer.org.
• In 2016, roughly 300,000 women will be diagnosed with the disease
• Approximately 6 percent of women treated with Taxotere suffer permanent hair loss, according to a study conducted by a breast oncologist at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers.

Sanofi-Aventis, the world's third largest drug maker, reported in 2010 its annual sales of Taxotere were US 3.1 billion. No wonder so many Taxotere lawsuits are being filed…

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