- Cancer Information
- Advanced cancer
- Living with advanced cancer
- Treatment for advanced cancer
- Targeted therapy
This is a type of drug treatment that attacks specific features of cancer cells, known as molecular targets, to stop the cancer growing and spreading. Targeted therapy drugs work in a different way from chemotherapy drugs. Chemotherapy drugs also circulate throughout the body, but they particularly affect cells that divide rapidly.
Targeted therapy drugs are used to control cancer growth. They often cause the signs and symptoms of cancer to reduce or disappear. This means many people can return to their usual activities. The drugs may need to be taken long term, and you will need to have regular tests to monitor the cancer.
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) subsidises the cost of some targeted therapy drugs for certain cancers. Therapies not on the PBS are usually expensive, but you may be able to have them as part of a clinical trial.
These vary depending on the targeted therapy used, but may include fevers, sensitivity to the sun, rashes, headaches, diarrhoea, bleeding and bruising, and blood pressure changes.
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Prof Nicholas Glasgow, Head, Calvary Palliative and End of Life Care Research Institute, ACT; Kathryn Bennett, Nurse Practitioner, Eastern Palliative Care Association Inc., VIC; Dr Maria Ftanou, Head, Clinical Psychology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and Research Fellow, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, VIC; Erin Ireland, Legal Counsel, Cancer Council NSW; Nikki Johnston, Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner, Clare Holland House, Calvary Public Hospital Bruce, ACT; Judy Margolis, Consumer; Linda Nolte, Program Director, Advance Care Planning Australia; Kate Reed- Cox, Nurse Practitioner, National Clinical Advisor, Palliative Care Australia; Helena Rodi, Project Manager, Advance Care Planning Australia; Kaitlyn Thorne, Coordinator Cancer Support, 13 11 20, Cancer Council Queensland.
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