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Caregiver tips

Your role on the health care team

As the caregiver, you are a vital member of your friend or family member's health care team. Here are few tips to help you and your loved one:

  • Write down any questions that either of you would like to ask the doctor
  • Offer to go with your family member or friend to medical appointments
  • Find out if there are any special instructions and treatment tips your doctor recommends
  • Reach out to family and friends that may want to help with the tasks associated with caregiving
  • Keep track of medical information and paperwork
  • Note any changes in symptoms or side effects

By understanding when Avastin is given, you can help keep your friend or family member's treatment on track.

As the caregiver, you're an important part of the health care team. Here's information to help you give your friend or family member the most effective care you can.

Learn more about caring for someone with metastatic cancer Caregiver Guide

Communication is key

Metastatic cancer changes the patient's life, your life, and the lives of family members. As a caregiver, you should talk with your friend or family member about these changes. Here are a few tips for creating a healthy dialogue:

  • Ask if it's a good time to talk
  • Be supportive, listen, and don't interrupt
  • Practice what you'll say in advance
  • Speak from the heart
  • Remember that you can have more than one talk
  • Don't always say, "It'll be okay"

Talking with children

It can be difficult to tell children what's happened to mom or dad. But it's important to be truthful and speak openly about cancer at an age-appropriate level. Let them know that it's okay to be upset, angry, or scared. Listen to them and be sure to make time for your children in any way you can.

Find the support you need

Remember, support can come in different ways. You may find support through a friend, online, or from a professional organization. Here are some places to start your search for support:

CancerCare
Provides free professional help to people with all cancers through counseling, education, information, referral, and direct financial assistance.
Visit www.cancercare.org or call 1-800-813-HOPE (1-800-813-4673)

National Family Caregivers Association
Educates, supports, empowers, and speaks up for those who care for loved ones with a chronic illness or disability.
Visit www.thefamilycaregiver.org or call 1-800-896-3650

Genentech USA, Inc. is not affiliated with these organizations. The information provided by Genentech USA, Inc. or these organizations is meant for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace a physician's medical advice.

Important Safety Information

What is Avastin approved for?

Metastatic Colorectal Cancer (mCRC) Avastin is approved to treat metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) for:

  • First- or second-line treatment in combination with intravenous 5-fluorouracil–based chemotherapy
  • Second-line treatment when used with fluoropyrimidine-based (combined with irinotecan or oxaliplatin) chemotherapy after cancer progresses following a first-line treatment that includes Avastin

Avastin is not approved for use after the primary treatment of colon cancer that has not spread to other parts of the body.

Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) Avastin, in combination with carboplatin and paclitaxel, is approved to treat advanced nonsquamous non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in people who have not received chemotherapy for their advanced disease.

Metastatic Kidney Cancer (mRCC) Avastin, used with interferon alfa, is approved to treat metastatic kidney cancer (mRCC).

Advanced Cervical Cancer (CC) Avastin, in combination with paclitaxel and cisplatin or paclitaxel and topotecan, is approved to treat persistent, recurrent, or metastatic cancer of the cervix.

Platinum-Resistant Ovarian Cancer (prOC) Avastin, in combination with paclitaxel, pegylated liposomal doxorubicin or topotecan, is approved to treat platinum-resistant recurrent epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer in women who received no more than two prior chemotherapy treatments.

Possible serious side effects

Everyone reacts differently to Avastin therapy. So it's important to know what the side effects are. Although some people may have a life-threatening side effect, most do not. Your doctor will stop treatment if any serious side effects occur. Be sure to contact your health care team if there are any signs of these side effects.

Most serious side effects (not common, but sometimes fatal):

  • GI perforation. A hole that develops in your stomach or intestine. Symptoms include pain in your abdomen, nausea, vomiting, constipation, or fever
  • Wounds that don't heal. A cut made during surgery can be slow to heal or may not fully heal. Avastin should not be used for at least 28 days before or after surgery and until surgical wounds are fully healed
  • Serious bleeding. This includes vomiting or coughing up blood; bleeding in the stomach, brain, or spinal cord; nosebleeds; and vaginal bleeding. If you recently coughed up blood or had serious bleeding, be sure to tell your doctor

Other possible serious side effects

  • Abnormal passage in the body. This type of passage—known as a fistula—is an irregular connection from one part of the body to another and can sometimes be fatal
  • Severe high blood pressure. Blood pressure that severely spikes or shows signs of affecting the brain. Blood pressure should be monitored every 2 to 3 weeks while on Avastin and after stopping treatment
  • Kidney problems. These may be caused by too much protein in the urine and can sometimes be fatal
  • Infusion reactions. These were uncommon with the first dose (less than 3% of patients). 0.2% of patients had severe reactions. Infusion reactions include high blood pressure or severe high blood pressure that may lead to stroke, trouble breathing, decreased oxygen in red blood cells, a serious allergic reaction, chest pain, headache, tremors, and excessive sweating. Your doctor or nurse will monitor you for signs of infusion reactions
  • Severe stroke or heart problems. These may include blood clots, mini-stroke, heart attack, and chest pain. These can sometimes be fatal
  • Nervous system and vision problems. Signs include headache, seizure, high blood pressure, sluggishness, confusion, and blindness

Side effects seen most often

In clinical studies across different types of cancer, some patients experienced the following side effects:

  • High blood pressure
  • Too much protein in the urine
  • Nosebleeds
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Back pain
  • Headache
  • Taste change
  • Dry skin
  • Inflammation of the skin
  • Inflammation of the nose
  • Watery eyes

Avastin is not for everyone

Talk to your doctor if you are:

  • Undergoing surgery. Avastin should not be used for 28 days before or after surgery and until surgical wounds are fully healed
  • Pregnant, or think you are pregnant. Data have shown that Avastin may harm your unborn baby. Use birth control while on Avastin. If you stop Avastin, you should keep using birth control for 6 months before trying to become pregnant
  • Planning to become pregnant. Taking Avastin could cause a woman's ovaries to stop working and may impair her ability to have children
  • Breastfeeding. Breastfeeding while on Avastin may harm your baby and is therefore not recommended

If you have any questions about your condition or treatment, talk to your doctor.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.You may also report side effects to Genentech at 1-888-835-2555.

Please see full Product Information, including Serious Side Effects, for additional important safety information.

Questions about Avastin?
Call our nurse support line 7 days a week: 1-877-428-2784

Glioblastoma (GBM) Avastin is approved to treat glioblastoma (GBM) when taken alone in adult patients whose cancer has progressed after prior treatment (recurrent or rGBM). The effectiveness of Avastin in rGBM is based on tumor response. Currently, no data have shown whether or not Avastin improves disease-related symptoms or survival in people with rGBM.

Metastatic Colorectal Cancer (mCRC) Avastin is approved to treat metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) for:

  • First- or second-line treatment in combination with intravenous 5-fluorouracil–based chemotherapy
  • Second-line treatment when used with fluoropyrimidine-based (combined with irinotecan or oxaliplatin) chemotherapy after cancer progresses following a first-line treatment that includes Avastin

Avastin is not approved for use after the primary treatment of colon cancer that has not spread to other parts of the body.

Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) Avastin, in combination with carboplatin and paclitaxel, is approved to treat advanced nonsquamous non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in people who have not received chemotherapy for their advanced disease.

Metastatic Kidney Cancer (mRCC) Avastin, used with interferon alfa, is approved to treat metastatic kidney cancer (mRCC).

Advanced Cervical Cancer (CC) Avastin, in combination with paclitaxel and cisplatin or paclitaxel and topotecan, is approved to treat persistent, recurrent, or metastatic cancer of the cervix.

Platinum-Resistant Ovarian Cancer (prOC) Avastin, in combination with paclitaxel, pegylated liposomal doxorubicin or topotecan, is approved to treat platinum-resistant recurrent epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer in women who received no more than two prior chemotherapy treatments.

Important Safety Information

What is Avastin approved for?

Metastatic Colorectal Cancer (mCRC) Avastin is approved to treat metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) for:

  • First- or second-line treatment in combination with intravenous 5-fluorouracil–based chemotherapy
  • Second-line treatment when used with fluoropyrimidine-based (combined with irinotecan or oxaliplatin) chemotherapy after cancer progresses following a first-line treatment that includes Avastin

Avastin is not approved for use after the primary treatment of colon cancer that has not spread to other parts of the body.

Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) Avastin, in combination with carboplatin and paclitaxel, is approved to treat advanced nonsquamous non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in people who have not received chemotherapy for their advanced disease.

Metastatic Kidney Cancer (mRCC) Avastin, used with interferon alfa, is approved to treat metastatic kidney cancer (mRCC).

Advanced Cervical Cancer (CC) Avastin, in combination with paclitaxel and cisplatin or paclitaxel and topotecan, is approved to treat persistent, recurrent, or metastatic cancer of the cervix.

Platinum-Resistant Ovarian Cancer (prOC) Avastin, in combination with paclitaxel, pegylated liposomal doxorubicin or topotecan, is approved to treat platinum-resistant recurrent epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer in women who received no more than two prior chemotherapy treatments.

Possible serious side effects

Everyone reacts differently to Avastin therapy. So it's important to know what the side effects are. Although some people may have a life-threatening side effect, most do not. Your doctor will stop treatment if any serious side effects occur. Be sure to contact your health care team if there are any signs of these side effects.

Most serious side effects (not common, but sometimes fatal):

  • GI perforation. A hole that develops in your stomach or intestine. Symptoms include pain in your abdomen, nausea, vomiting, constipation, or fever
  • Wounds that don't heal. A cut made during surgery can be slow to heal or may not fully heal. Avastin should not be used for at least 28 days before or after surgery and until surgical wounds are fully healed
  • Serious bleeding. This includes vomiting or coughing up blood; bleeding in the stomach, brain, or spinal cord; nosebleeds; and vaginal bleeding. If you recently coughed up blood or had serious bleeding, be sure to tell your doctor

Other possible serious side effects

  • Abnormal passage in the body. This type of passage—known as a fistula—is an irregular connection from one part of the body to another and can sometimes be fatal
  • Severe high blood pressure. Blood pressure that severely spikes or shows signs of affecting the brain. Blood pressure should be monitored every 2 to 3 weeks while on Avastin and after stopping treatment
  • Kidney problems. These may be caused by too much protein in the urine and can sometimes be fatal
  • Infusion reactions. These were uncommon with the first dose (less than 3% of patients). 0.2% of patients had severe reactions. Infusion reactions include high blood pressure or severe high blood pressure that may lead to stroke, trouble breathing, decreased oxygen in red blood cells, a serious allergic reaction, chest pain, headache, tremors, and excessive sweating. Your doctor or nurse will monitor you for signs of infusion reactions
  • Severe stroke or heart problems. These may include blood clots, mini-stroke, heart attack, and chest pain. These can sometimes be fatal
  • Nervous system and vision problems. Signs include headache, seizure, high blood pressure, sluggishness, confusion, and blindness

Side effects seen most often

In clinical studies across different types of cancer, some patients experienced the following side effects:

  • High blood pressure
  • Too much protein in the urine
  • Nosebleeds
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Back pain
  • Headache
  • Taste change
  • Dry skin
  • Inflammation of the skin
  • Inflammation of the nose
  • Watery eyes

Avastin is not for everyone

Talk to your doctor if you are:

  • Undergoing surgery. Avastin should not be used for 28 days before or after surgery and until surgical wounds are fully healed
  • Pregnant, or think you are pregnant. Data have shown that Avastin may harm your unborn baby. Use birth control while on Avastin. If you stop Avastin, you should keep using birth control for 6 months before trying to become pregnant
  • Planning to become pregnant. Taking Avastin could cause a woman's ovaries to stop working and may impair her ability to have children
  • Breastfeeding. Breastfeeding while on Avastin may harm your baby and is therefore not recommended

If you have any questions about your condition or treatment, talk to your doctor.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.You may also report side effects to Genentech at 1-888-835-2555.

Please see full Product Information, including Serious Side Effects, for additional important safety information.

Questions about Avastin? 7 days a week nurse support line: 1‑877‑428‑2784

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