Targeted Therapy Treats Cancer

What is Targeted Therapy?

Targeted therapy treats cancer by targeting proteins that control the growth of cancer. Targeted therapy uses drugs to “target” cancer cells without affecting normal cells. Although targeted therapy kills cancer on its own, doctors often use it as one part of a complete treatment plan. Even if targeted therapy is the first drug you get, you can have radiation, chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, or other treatments along with it. Targeted therapy method is used with the combination of traditional chemotherapy. However targeted drugs have less severe side effects than standard chemotherapy drugs.

Targeted therapy drugs can be expensive, but not more so than treatments in the US. In India, patients with chronic lymphatic leukaemia with a 17p mutation will require treatment with Ibrutinib, which can cost USD 35000 for a year. The Cost of targeted therapy in India can range from USD 1500 to 3000 per cycle.

How is Targeted Therapy given?

Some targeted therapies come as pills which you can take orally at home. If you take the pills at home, you need to make sure that you know the correct dosage and how to store the medication.

Other targeted therapies are available as injections. You’ll need to visit your doctor to get the injectable versions through a needle into a vein.

How does Targeted Therapy Treats Cancer?

  • Help the immune system destroy cancer cells – Targeted therapies can mark cancer cells so it is easier for the immune system to find and destroy them. 
  • Stop cancer cells from growing 
  • Deliver cell-killing substances to cancer cells  
  • Some breast and prostate cancers require certain hormones to grow but Targeted therapy starves the cancer hormones to prevent it from growing. 

What are the side effects of Targeted Therapy ?

Because targeted therapy does not destroy healthy cells as chemo does, it won’t cause hair loss and some other unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy. The side effects depend on the drug and dose you receive, but they can include:

  • fatigue
  • diarrhoea
  • constipation
  • infections
  • stuffed or runny nose
  • a burning or pins-and-needles sensation in your arms, legs, hands, or feet from nerve damage (neuropathy)
  • shortness of breath
  • skin rash

Frequently Asked Questions:

How is targeted therapy different from chemotherapy?

The two effective methods for cancer are chemotherapy and targeted therapy. The difference is that chemotherapy can also kill normal cells while eliminating cancer cells. On the other side, the normal cells can survive the targeted therapy, when the growth of cancer cells was limited.

What is the success rate of targeted therapy?

The success rate is 90% compared with 35% that can be achieved with conventional chemotherapy

What are the side effects of targeted therapy?

The most common side effects of targeted therapies are diarrhoea and liver problems, such as hepatitis and elevated liver enzymes. The Other side effects also include: Skin problems (acneiform rash, dry skin, nail changes, hair depigmentation) Problems with blood clotting and wound healing.

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