Targeted therapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs.The drugs known as targeted therapy help stop cancer from growing and spreading. They work by targeting specific genes or proteins. These genes and proteins are found in cancer cells or in cells related to cancer growth, like blood vessel cells.
Targeted drugs can be used as the main treatment for some cancers, but in most cases they’re used with other treatments such as chemo, surgery, and/or radiation therapy.
How does targeted cancer therapy work?
Targeted drugs can work to:
– Block or turn off chemical signals that tell the cancer cell to grow and divide
– Change proteins within the cancer cells so the cells die
– Stop making new blood vessels to feed the cancer cells
– Trigger your immune system to kill the cancer cells
– Carry toxins to the cancer cells to kill them, but not normal cells
ADVANTAGES OF TARGETED THERAPY
Targeted therapies generally cause less damage to healthy cells than chemotherapy. At the same time, targeted therapy is designed to increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.
What should You know about side effects
– Not every person gets every side effect, and some people get few, if any.
– The severity of side effects can vary greatly from drug to drug and from person to person. Be sure to talk to your cancer care team about which side effects are most common with your treatment, how long they might last, how bad they might be, and when you should call the doctor’s office about them.
How long do side effects last?
Most side effects go away over time after treatment ends and the healthy cells recover. The time it takes to get over some side effects varies from person to person. It depends on many factors; including your overall health and the drugs you were given
Skin problems from targeted cancer therapy drugs
Many targeted therapy drugs cause a rash or other skin changes. These skin problems usually develop slowly over days to weeks. They are not signs of a drug allergy.
What should you do if you have skin changes?
It’s very important to tell your cancer care team right away if you notice any rashes or skin changes. Left untreated, rashes can get worse and lead to infections, which might then lead to delaying or even stopping treatment.
Don’t treat your skin with over-the-counter medicines or stop taking your targeted drug without talking to your doctor first. Your doctor may give you a skin cream or a medicine to take by mouth to treat the skin.
Be sure to let your doctor or nurse know if:
• You notice a burning feeling, redness, or rash. There are creams you can use to try to keep it from getting worse.
• Your skin is dry, flaking, or cracked. Moisturizing cream may help with this.
• Your skin is itchy. There are creams and gels you can use to ease itching. There are also some medicines you can take by mouth to try to stop the itching.
• The area around your fingernails or toenails becomes sore or red.
• You have very dry, red, or tender eyes.
• You get sores on your scalp or other areas with hair.