Understanding the Function, Process, and Side Effects of Targeted Therapy for Cancer

You may have often heard of chemotherapy methods to treat cancer. However, chemotherapy is not the only method to treat cancer. In some cases, your doctor may recommend targeted therapy to treat the disease. What is the procedure for targeted cancer therapy and who needs it? The following is complete information about the procedure.

What is targeted therapy?

Targeted therapy is treatment using drugs to stop the growth and spread of cancer cells. Although both use drugs, target therapy is different from chemotherapy.

While chemotherapy can affect normal cells, targeted therapy does not. This therapy only targets specific molecules or proteins that control cancer cells to grow, divide, and spread.

Therefore, this therapy is an important type of cancer treatment. Researchers will continue to develop this type of treatment according to the specific changes that may occur in cancer cells.

Although important, targeted therapy cannot treat all types of cancer. Most people who get this therapy also need other types of cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or surgery.

How does targeted therapy work?

Launching from the American Cancer Society, this therapy works by detecting and attacking certain areas or substances in cancer cells, or detecting and blocking certain types of cancer cell signals that make abnormal cells grow. By targeting these substances, areas, or signals, this therapy can stop the growth of cancer cells in a number of ways, including:

  • Triggers the immune system to destroy cancer cells.
  • Blocks or turns off the chemical signals that tell cancer cells to grow and divide.
  • Change the proteins in cancer cells so that the cells die.
  • Stops the creation of new blood vessels that can nourish cancer cells to grow and divide.
  • Carries toxins to cancer cells to kill them, but not to normal cells.
  • Preventing the body from making certain hormones, or blocking the work of certain hormones that can cause cancer cells to grow.

Who can get this therapeutic treatment?

Not everyone with this type of cancer can get this treatment. Generally, only patients who have targets, such as changes in certain proteins or genes, in their cancer cells will receive this treatment. Consult your doctor whether you need to undergo this cancer treatment or not.

In general, this therapy can only treat certain types of cancer, such as breast cancer, leukemia and lymphoma, colon cancer (colon cancer), skin cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer.

In addition, brain cancer, bone cancer, kidney cancer, stomach cancer, and some other types of cancer may benefit from targeted therapy.

What should be done before undergoing this cancer therapy?

As previously explained, targeted therapy is usually only done to treat certain types of cancer with special conditions. Therefore, to determine whether you need this treatment or not, the doctor will first conduct an examination.

Generally, doctors will perform biomarker tests through a biopsy procedure. A biopsy is a test by taking a piece or sample of the tumor for later testing.

Through this sample, the doctor can identify whether you have changes in certain proteins or genes that cause cancer to grow. In addition, this test can also help doctors determine the type of targeted therapy and appropriate drugs.

How is the target therapy process carried out?

Targeted therapy procedures can be done in two ways, namely orally (drink) or injection into a vein through an IV or catheter (central venous catheter). Giving drugs through an IV or catheter usually needs to be done in a hospital, clinic, or doctor's office. Generally, you do not need to stay in the hospital during this treatment.

While the administration of targeted drugs through oral can be in the form of pills, capsules, liquids, or other types. You can usually take these medicines at home. Therefore, it is important for you to take it as directed by the doctor so that the drug can work as you and the doctor expect.

The length of this treatment depends on the type and severity of the cancer, the targeted therapeutic drugs you are receiving, and your body's response to the treatment. You may need to go to the hospital every day, every week, or once a month to get this treatment. Talk to your doctor about your treatment procedure.

What are the results of this therapy?

Targeted therapy has a different effect on each patient. This will depend on your condition prior to treatment, the type of cancer, its severity, and the therapeutic drugs you are taking.

To determine the effectiveness of this treatment, the doctor will conduct regular checks. This examination can include a physical examination as well as various medical tests, such as blood tests, X-rays, or other imaging tests.

What are the possible side effects of targeted therapy?

The side effects of targeted therapy can be different for each patient. You may experience few side effects, but other patients may experience many or none. In addition, the severity of these side effects may not be the same.

The following are some of the common risks or side effects that arise after undergoing targeted therapy:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Disorders of the liver or liver.
  • Skin problems, such as redness, itching, dry skin, and changes in the nails.
  • Disorders of blood clotting and wound healing.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Fatigue.
  • Sprue.

Hair problems, such as hair becoming thin, dry, brittle, to hair loss or baldness.

Other side effects may appear. If you experience it, consult a doctor for proper treatment.

Application of a Healthy Lifestyle for Cancer Patients

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