How targeted therapy is given
Targeted therapy drugs are usually prescribed by a medical oncologist or haematologist. They are commonly given in repeating cycles, with rest periods in between. Some drugs may be taken daily for many months or even years. They may be given on their own or in combination with chemotherapy drugs.
These drugs are generally given in different ways:
- as tablets that you can swallow
- through a drip into a vein in your arm (IV infusion)
- as an injection under the skin.
How long you take the drugs will depend on the aim of the treatment, how the cancer responds, and the side effects you experience. Your treatment team can give you more details.
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This information was reviewed by: Dr Fiona Day, Medical Oncologist, Calvary Mater Newcastle, and Conjoint Senior Lecturer, University of Newcastle, NSW; Dawn Bed , 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland; Jennifer Cardwell, Consumer; Christine Henneker, Nurse Practitioner Cancer Services, WA Country Health Service, WA; Dr Rohit Joshi, Medical Oncology Consultant, Calvary Central Districts Hospital, and Clinical Lecturer, University of Adelaide, SA; Prof Ross McKinnon, Director, Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer, SA; Prof Miles Prince, Haematologist, Director of Molecular Oncology and Cancer Immunology, Epworth HealthCare, VIC; Prof Ben Solomon, Medical Oncologist, and Group Leader, Molecular Therapeutics and Biomarkers Laboratory, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Subotheni Thavaneswaran, Medical Oncologist, The Kinghorn Cancer Centre and St Vincent’s Hospital, and Translational Research Fellow, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, NSW; A/Pro Kathy Tucker, Clinical Cancer Geneticist, Nelune Comprehensive Cancer Centre, NSW.
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Targeted therapy is a type of drug treatment that attacks specific features of cancer cells, known as molecular targets, to stop the cancer growing and spreading. Other names for targeted therapy include biological therapies and molecular targeted therapy.