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Targeted Therapies

Targeted therapies are an advanced form of cancer treatments that more precisely fight your cancer.

  • Chemotherapy takes a broad-based approach and focuses on all rapidly dividing cells. Targeted therapies are focused on specific genetic mutations that make cancer cells different from healthy cells.
  • Chemotherapy can damage healthy cells if they divide rapidly. Targeted therapies concentrate only on cells with the specific gene mutation. Since healthy cells do not have a mutation, they are not harmed.
  • Targeted therapies attack the genes, proteins, or tissue environment that contributes to your cancer’s growth and survival.
  • Chemotherapy kills tumor cells; targeted therapies block the reproduction of cancerous cells.
  • Targeted therapies are often used in conjunction with other treatments including chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

Just like there are many cancer types, there are multiple targeted therapies. Some therapies attack a single trait of the cancerous cell, while others attack several mutations within the cancer cells. You may receive multiple targeted therapies as part of your treatment plan.

Targeted therapies can cause side effects, depending on the type of therapy. Cancer cells can also adapt to the targeted therapy rendering them ineffective.

Not every cancer type is receptive to targeted therapies. Ask your doctor if targeted therapies are available for your cancer.

Several resources help you learn more about targeted therapies: