Targeted therapy: questions to ask your doctor

Description

You are having a targeted therapy to try to kill cancer cells. You may receive targeted therapy alone or also have other treatments at the same time. Your health care provider may need to follow you closely while you are having targeted therapy. You will also need to learn how to care for yourself during this time.

Below are some questions you may want to ask your doctor.

Alternative Names

Carcinoma - targeted; Squamous cell - targeted; Adenocarcinoma - targeted; Lymphoma - targeted; Tumor - targeted; Leukemia - targeted; Cancer - targeted

Questions

Is targeted therapy the same as chemotherapy?

Do I need someone to bring me in and pick me up after the treatment?

What are the known side effects?

Am I at risk for infections?

Am I at risk for bleeding?

Are there any medicines I should not take?

Do I need to use birth control?

Will I be sick to my stomach or have loose stools or diarrhea?

Will my hair fall out? Is there anything I can do about it?

Will I have problems thinking or remembering things? Can I do anything that might help?

What should I do if I get a rash?

If my skin or eyes are itchy, what can I use to treat this?

What should I do if my nails start to break?

How should I take care of my mouth and lips?

Is it OK to be out in the sun?

What can I do about my fatigue?

When should I call the doctor?

References

Garraway LA, Verweij J, Ballman KV. Precision oncology: an overview. J Clin Oncol. 2013;31(15):1803-1805. PMID: 23589545 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23589545.

Kummar S, Murgo AJ, Tomaszewski JE, Doroshow JH. Therapeutic targeting of cancer cells: era of molecularly targeted agents. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 28.

National Cancer Institute website. Targeted cancer therapies. www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/targeted-therapies/targeted-therapies-fact-sheet. Accessed September 20, 2016.

Stegmaier K, Sellers WR. Targeted therapies in oncology. In: Orkin SH, Fisher DE, Ginsburg D, Look AT, Lux SE, Nathan DG, eds. Nathan and Oski's Hematology and Oncology of Infancy and Childhood. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 44.


Review Date: 8/15/2016
Reviewed By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 03-15-18.
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