What you need to know about:

Targeted Therapy for Cancer

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Recovery Period:
Most side effects go away several weeks after treatment period ends
Permanence:
Depends on patient condition
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Time it takes:
Typically 3-4 years after diagnosis
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Overview of

Targeted Therapy for Cancer

in Thailand

Targeted therapy is a relatively new form of cancer treatment that specifically targets cancer cells by using drugs or other substances to block chemical signals at the cell level, which is where the growth and division of cancer cells start. Currently, targeted therapy can be used to treat many types of cancers, including: -Lung cancer -Liver cancer -Kidney cancer -Colon cancer -Breast cancer -Ovarian cancer -Head and neck cancer -Lymphoma There are 2 main types of targeted therapy drugs: 1.Monoclonal Antibodies: These generally work by blocking a specific target on the outside or surface of cancer cells, thereby killing the cell or prohibiting cell division or growth. Some monoclonal antibodies have radioactive material attached to them in order to enhance their effectiveness in destroying the cancer cells. Monoclonal antibodies are usually administered intravenously. 2.Small Molecules: Drugs called “small-molecule drugs” can penetrate the cell membrane to interact with targets both inside and on the surface of cancer cells. Small molecule drugs for targeted therapy are usually taken orally. The mechanism of action for the drugs will vary depending on the growth process of the specific cancer cells targeted.

Goals of

Targeted Therapy for Cancer

When treating cancer using targeted therapy, whether alone or in conjunction with other treatments such chemo or radiation therapy, the goal of the treatment depends on the type and stage of the cancer targeted, as follows: -To cure the cancer -To inhibit the growth of cancer cells -To destroy cancer cells that have the ability to spread to other parts of the body -To help relieve symptoms caused by the cancer

Price of

Targeted Therapy for Cancer

Average Cost

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Price Range

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Pros and cons of

Targeted Therapy for Cancer

Pros

-Block or turn off signals that tell cancer cells to grow or multiply.

-Alter proteins within cancer cells that cause those cells to die.

-Prevent new blood vessels from forming, which cuts off blood supply to your tumor.

-Tell your immune system to attack the cancer cells.

-Deliver toxins that kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells.

Cons

-Cancer cells can become resistant to targeted therapy. For this reason, they may work best when used with other types of targeted therapy or with other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation.  

-Drugs for some targets are hard to develop. Reasons include the target’s structure, the target’s function in the cell, or both.  

-Very expensive

How it works:

Targeted Therapy for Cancer

Because the use of targeted therapy in the treatment of certain types of cancers requires that the patient’s cancer cells have a receptor or specific target that will respond to the drugs, before receiving treatment, the patient will need to undergo testing to find out whether or not if the correct gene or receptor is present and able to be treated with targeted therapy.  The frequency of targeted therapy and how long it lasts will depend on the type of cancer being targeted, the goals of the treatment, the drugs being used, and how the patient’s body responds to them. The doctor will make the assessment and determine an appropriate treatment plan for each individual patient.  

Targeted therapy drugs are usually prescribed by a medical oncologist or haematologist. They are commonly given in repeating cycles, with rest periods in between. Some drugs may be taken daily for many months or even years. They may be given on their own or in combination with chemotherapy drugs.  

These drugs are generally given in different ways:  -As tablets that you can swallow -through a drip into a vein in your arm (IV infusion) As an injection under the skin.  How long you take the drugs will depend on the aim of the treatment, how the cancer responds, and the side effects you experience. Your treatment team can give you more details.

Preparation before

Targeted Therapy for Cancer

Pre - treatment

N/A

Recovery after

Targeted Therapy for Cancer

Post - treatment

N/A

Risks & side effects

Targeted therapy can cause side effects. The side effects you may have depend on the type of targeted therapy you receive and how your body reacts to the therapy.  The most common side effects of targeted therapy include diarrhea and liver problems. Other side effects might include problems with blood clotting and wound healing, high blood pressure, fatigue, mouth sores, nail changes, the loss of hair color, and skin problems. Skin problems might include rash or dry skin. Very rarely, a hole might form through the wall of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large bowel, rectum, or gallbladder.  There are medicines for many of these side effects. These medicines may prevent the side effects from happening or treat them once they occur.

FAQs:

Targeted Therapy for Cancer

What is the follow up procedure like?

Patients should see their doctor for scheduled appointments in order to follow-up on treatment progress, with regard to both their body’s response to the treatment and the safety of continued use of the drugs.

How will I know whether targeted therapy is working?

While you are receiving targeted therapy, you will see your doctor often. He or she will give you physical exams and ask you how you feel. You will have medical tests, such as blood tests, x-rays, and different types of scans. These regular visits and tests will help the doctor know whether the treatment is working.

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