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Treatment

 
Treatment

Chapter: 6 - Treatment

Subchapter: 10 - Targeted Therapy

In addition to systemic chemotherapy and hormone therapy, there are newer, more effective treatments that can attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells. Currently, these targeted methods are commonly used in combination with traditional chemotherapy. However, targeted drugs often have less severe side effects than standard chemotherapy drugs.

Monoclonal Antibodies
One type of targeted therapy currently being studied is monoclonal antibodies. These laboratory-manufactured proteins bind with certain cancers.

Herceptin or Trastuzumab
Monoclonal antibody drugs such as Herceptin (also known as trastuzumab) and Lapatinib target HER2-positive tumors. If cancer cells are positive for the HER2/neu receptors, that means there is an overabundance of receptors on the cancer cell for the growth-stimulating HER2 protein.

The tumor acts almost like a magnet for growth hormones, and when the tumor cells connect with growth hormone cells, the cancer can quickly grow and multiply. Herceptin helps shrink these HER2-positive tumors by finding the cells, binding with them, and blocking the action of the receptor.

Bevacizumab
Another targeted therapy, Bevacizumab, prevents tumors from making new blood vessels that could feed the tumor, essentially cutting off the cancer cells from all nutrients.

As with all medical treatments, if you experience unusual changes in your health during targeted therapy, notify your doctor immediately.

Related Questions

  • sally fakih Profile

    Is it normal that your dr ask for a blood test while I am on herceptin? ... I am worried!

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Sally, I think this is very normal. Just as Jo said, my oncologist was ALWAYS draining blood out of me at every appointment. It is the only way they have to check how all your organs are functioning and how well you immune system is tolerating the treatment.
      Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Cheryl Wornham Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Hi I also get blood test when I see my oncologist

      Comment
  • Robin Layman Profile

    What is TS6 fibroadenoma with sclerosis adenosis and focal calcifications?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 1 answer
    • Lysa Allison Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I would call my doctor and ask him/ her to explain what that is and what that means for you. Good luck!

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Has anyone ever experienced atrial fibrulation as a residual effect of chemo? I took herceptin, taxotere and carboplatin.

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2011
    over 6 years 2 answers
    • Laura Cornwell Profile
      anonymous
      Industry Provider

      There is no evidence that taxotere or carbaplatin have any adverse effects on the heart. Herceptin is known to rarely cause some heart changes, but not specifically atrial fibrillation.

      Atrial fibrillation is actually very common with age. Most people get it for reasons related to high blood...

      more

      There is no evidence that taxotere or carbaplatin have any adverse effects on the heart. Herceptin is known to rarely cause some heart changes, but not specifically atrial fibrillation.

      Atrial fibrillation is actually very common with age. Most people get it for reasons related to high blood pressure, valve disease, coronary artery disease, lung disease, alcohol use or thyroid problems. If one of those were to blame, you and your doctor would most likely already know that you had the risk factor. But up to 1-3 out of every 10 people with atrial fibrillation had no risk factor for Afib.

      Be optimistic! There are lots of options for atrial fibrillation treatment and in many patients it can be fixed.

      1 comment
    • Kathy Firth Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      These are the same drugs I have taken and am still taking Herceptin and have so far not experienced any problems with my heart. My oncologist sends me every three months for an echo to keep a close watch for any possible damage.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Will I vomit from radiation therapy?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Liz B Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      No. Radiation therapy is specific to the area being treated, it will not affect your stomach. You may feel tired, and your skin will feel burned after a few weeks of treatment, but you won't lose your hair or feel sick to you stomach the way that you do from chemo.

      1 comment
    • Laura Zarowny Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had 30 consecutive radiation treatments for breast cancer and I didn't have problems with vomiting. I did blister though.

      Comment

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