Targeted Therapy for Cancer
Targeted therapy is a special
form of cancer treatment that is able to single out cancerous cells and cancerous portions of cells without
causing damage to healthy cell material.
This is a very advanced form of cancer treatment, though you should know that
targeted therapy is not able to treat every form of cancer and isn’t right for every
patient. Your doctor will tell you about the particular treatments that are available to you and
together you can decide what course of action will be best for you.
Preparation for Targeted Therapy: The first step of targeted
therapy begins with you giving your doctor your consent to receive the treatment you have decided
is usually taken in the form of your signature on a medical form. Before you sign this form, you
should talk with your doctor about what you can expect from your treatment. Make sure you understand how
long the course of treatment will last, how the medication should be taken, what follow up is necessary, and
what the effects are likely to be.
Your doctor should also tell you about any side effects you may experience as a
result of the medication you will take.
Side effects may be mild, moderate, or severe, though you may not experience any
as a result of the medications.
Your doctor can tell you with side effects you are most likely to experience
and what you should do if you do.
Because there are many types of targeted therapy available, the exact procedure
you will follow once a course of treatment has been decided upon will vary. Any targeted therapy drug will
require a greater or lesser degree of monitoring while you are using it. You may be given blood tests,
x-rays, or other tests to determine how the medication is working and how you are responding to
some targeted therapy drugs require a high degree of monitoring, your doctor may provide you with specific
instructions regarding how you should take the medication that has been prescribed.
Any medication that you will receive
intravenously (through a vein) will be administered by a doctor or nurse at a health care
facility. Other medications, such as tablets or other pills, you may be able to take at home, though you
may be required to start taking them while under a doctor’s care before continuing to take them at
course of treatment varies depending on which medication you have been prescribed and which cancer it is being
used to treat. Some medications you will take on an on-going basis, while some may be administered in cycles
or for a specific length of time.
Your doctor will tell you how long you should take your medication and what you
should do once that stage of treatment is finished. Depending on your progress, you
may receive another round of targeted therapy treatment.
Techniques Used: Targeted therapy drugs are available in two primary forms: pill (tablet or capsule) and IV
(liquid). Depending on your course of treatment, you may receive both varieties just
one. You will
usually be able to take the pills on your own at home. If you are receiving IV
medication, you will most likely be receiving it at a hospital or clinic. IV solutions need to be
carefully prepared before being administered, so it is essential that only a nurse or doctor provide these doses
may be able to resume normal activities immediately after receiving each dose of targeted therapy medication,
though this is not a guarantee.
Each person responds differently to targeted therapy, so you should discuss
your concerns with your doctor.
Side Effects of Targeted Therapy:
Any medication you take has certain side effects associated with
everyone will experience side effects, though you should let your doctor know as soon as possible if you do