Challenges of targeted therapy

While many people respond well, targeted therapy is suitable for only a small number of cancers.

Learn more about:


Will it work?

The cancer must contain the particular molecular target or the drug won’t work. However, even if the cancer is shown to contain the target, there is no guarantee the drug will kill the cancer cells. The response to targeted therapy varies widely depending on the cancer type and molecular target. In some cancers, four out of five people assessed as suitable for a particular targeted therapy drug will respond.

Some cancer cells can become resistant to the targeted therapy even if it works at first. If this happens, another type of targeted therapy or another treatment may be offered.


How do I know targeted therapy is working?

You will have regular check-ups with your doctor, blood tests and different types of scans to see whether the cancer has responded to treatment.

If the treatment is working, the cancer will stop growing. A good response from targeted therapy will make the cancer shrink. In some cases, the cancer remains stable, which means it doesn’t grow in size on scans, but also does not shrink or disappear. People with stable disease can continue to have a good quality of life.


How much will it cost? 

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) subsidises the cost of many prescription medicines, including some targeted therapy drugs. The PBS has approved a number of targeted therapy drugs for use in Australia, under specific circumstances and for certain cancers. Medicines or treatments that are not on the PBS are usually very expensive, however, you may be able to access them as part of a clinical trial.


How do I access it?

Ask your oncologist or haematologist if there is a suitable targeted therapy drug for you. Targeted therapy drugs are becoming more available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for specific cancers including melanoma, bowel cancer, stomach cancer, ovarian cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, thyroid cancer, breast cancer and lung cancer. You will need a test to see if you are suitable for one of these drugs.

Many more targeted therapy drugs are being studied in clinical trials. Talk with your doctor about the latest developments and whether you are a suitable candidate. For more information on clinical trials, call 13 11 20 or see Clinical trials.


Listen to a podcast on New Treatments – Immunotherapy and Targeted Therapy


Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on Targeted Therapy


    Understanding Targeted Therapy

  • 128 kB

Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.


This information was last reviewed in June 2018
View who reviewed this content
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