Targeted therapy for cancer

Targeted therapy is a way to treat cancer. It is different from traditional chemotherapy. Traditional chemotherapy works by killing cells that grow quickly. Targeted therapy only affects parts of these cells, which may result in fewer side effects.

There are many kinds of targeted therapy medicines that work differently on different types of cancers. Some help your body attack cancer cells. Others cause cancer cells to die. Still others change or slow the growth of cancer cells. Targeted therapy may be used in addition to surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. Or it may be used alone.

How is targeted therapy given?

Targeted therapy medicine can be given as a pill, by injection or through an IV infusion. It may be done at home or in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital. The length of time depends on the type of medicine and how it is given. You may need to have treatments every day, once a week, or every few weeks.

Common side effects of targeted therapy

The medicines used to treat cancer can cause side effects. These will vary, depending on which drug is used. Most side effects are temporary and go away a month or so after treatment ends. During treatment, your health care team can help you manage them.

The most common side effects are:

  • Skin issues – rash, dry skin, sores, swelling, itching
  • Hair – thinning or dry hair, hair loss, changes in texture or color
  • Weakening and/or breaking of fingernails and toenails
  • Blood vessel issues – high blood pressure, blood clots, bruising, poor wound healing
  • Nausea, vomiting constipation, diarrhea, dehydration

Technologies for Targeted therapy for cancer

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What to Expect for Targeted therapy for cancer

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Side Effects and Risk Factors for Targeted therapy for cancer

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Education and Resources for Targeted therapy for cancer

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Learn More about Targeted therapy for cancer

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