Therapy for Cancer
is a very advanced form of cancer treatment that is based upon our ever-evolving understanding of cells and how
they behave when they become cancerous. Targeted therapy treatments
work by affecting cancerous cells and leaving healthy cells unaffected. This means that it’s possible that the person receiving targeted therapy will
receive fewer or less severe side effects than they might experience with other cancer
treatments. It should be remembered that the term ‘chemotherapy’
encompasses all forms of cancer treatments; however, because targeted therapy works a little differently than
other chemotherapy treatments, it is sometimes talked about in separate terms.
Preparation for Targeted
Therapy: Before you can begin receiving targeted therapy, or any other form of cancer
treatment, you must first give consent. Once you and your doctor
have concluded that targeted therapy is the form of treatment you would like to pursue, your doctor will provide
you with information about the drugs you will be receiving and what you can expect from them. All drugs carry a risk of side effects, so you must be prepared to experience
any or all of the side effects associated with the targeted therapy drug you will be taking. Not everyone who takes a certain drug will experience any or all of the side
effects, so you can talk to your doctor about what you are likely to experience
Procedure: Once your consent has been received (usually by signing a medical consent
form), then you will receive a prescription for any medication you will take at home. Depending on which medication you’ll be taking, you may need to be closely
monitored in the beginning to see that the medication is doing what it needs to. Your dose may be adjusted depending on how you respond to the
medication. Some forms of targeted therapy you will receive only
from a health care provider, usually your doctor or a nurse experienced in giving chemotherapy
treatments. Medication that is given intravenously (through a vein)
must be administered by someone experienced in working with chemotherapy drugs. Other forms of targeted therapy, such as pills you can take at home, may not
require direct supervision. However, you may need to be closely
monitored when starting a certain drug. Your doctor will give you
specific directions on how to use the medication that will be prescribed for you.
courses of drug treatment are on-going. Some will take place over
the course of several weeks or may be given to you in cycles. Once
a cycle has been completed, your targeted therapy may end or your doctor may start you on a new cycle.
Types of Targeted
Therapy: Targeted therapy is available in more than one form. The form you receive will depend on the kind of cancer that is being treated
and on your current health condition. Medications associated with
targeted therapy come in pill form or IV solution. If you are
taking medication at home, you will most likely be using a medication in pill form. Any IV (intravenous) drug you receive will be given to you at a hospital or
clinic by someone who has experience administering drugs related to cancer treatment. An IV dose may take place over the course of around 30 minutes, or may be
given to you in a sustained pump that may last a day or more.
Any side effects you experience while taking targeted therapy medications should be reported to your
doctor. After taking each dose at home or receiving a scheduled dose
at a hospital or treatment center, you may experience fatigue or other side effects. These may pass quickly, though they may last the length of your
treatment. You should talk to your doctor about your concerns
regarding recovery time.
Targeted Therapy Side
Effects: All medical procedures and treatments carry some degree of risk; any
medication you receive has the potential to cause known and unknown side effects. Your doctor can tell you about the risks associated with the targeted therapy
specific to you; together, you can decide the wisest course to take.