Mercy Medical Oncologist Dr. David Riseberg Discusses The Latest Adjuvant Breast Cancer Therapies

October 16, 2017
Medical Oncology at Mercy - Baltimore

Many women who have survived breast cancer live with the fear that the cancer will come back. Thanks to advances in post-surgery medications, some of that fear can be eased.

The Acquaviva family was just beginning its lives together when it was stopped in its tracks by a devastating diagnosis.

"It was pretty shocking and horrifying, honestly," Shannon Acquaviva said.

Acquaviva had breast cancer at 30 years old, and her daughter, Aria, was only 2. In the two years since her diagnosis, Acquaviva has gone through six rounds of chemotherapy, surgery radiation and a number of post-surgery medications.

"I'll pretty much do anything to make sure I'm around for my family. I want to be there for my daughter and watch her grow up. It's important to me," Acquaviva said.

According to Acquaviva's physician, Dr. David Riseberg, Chief, Division of Medical Oncology and Hematology at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD, many women like Acquaviva are very proactive about their post-surgery treatment, making every effort to keep the cancer from coming back. Acquaviva was already aware of a new drug for HER2-positive breast cancer patients like herself.

"This new drug that was approved called neratinib attacks the cancer from inside the cell, blocking the HER2 protein, and it was shown in clinical trials to further add some additional benefit in reducing the chance of the cancer coming back," Dr. Riseberg said.

"So we were pretty excited. We were following neratinib for a long time, so when it came out, we were just thrilled that there was an additional medicine that improved my chances for survival," Acquaviva said.

Dr. Riseberg noted that neratinib is not for everyone. Side effects include severe digestive problems and can be unpleasant. For Acquaviva, it was worth it.

"The first week was kind of rough, but after that, things got better. I'm pretty much 100 percent right now," Acquaviva said.

View Dr. David Riseberg’s interview regarding adjuvant breast cancer therapies.


Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit, MDMercyMedia on FacebookTwitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.

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