Who benefits from targeted therapy?

Targeted therapy drugs have been approved for use in Australia for bowel, breast, cervical, kidney, lung, ovarian, stomach and thyroid cancers, as well as melanoma and some forms of leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

The development of targeted therapy drugs has led to improved survival rates for several types of cancer and some people have had very encouraging outcomes. These drugs are becoming an increasingly important part of cancer treatment.

 Targeted therapy drugs may be used:

  • after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells
  • to treat advanced cancer that hasn’t responded to other treatment, or cancer that has come back
  • as maintenance treatment for advanced cancer to try to prevent the cancer coming back.

Less commonly, targeted therapy drugs are used as the first treatment for primary cancer or in combination with radiation therapy.

Many targeted therapy drugs are not safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Ask your doctor for advice about contraception. If you become pregnant, let your medical team know immediately.

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

This information was last reviewed in June 2018
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