Understanding Targeted Therapy

Updated 26 Jul 2018.


Thanks to advancements in cancer research, new treatment options and drugs are being tested and developed to improve outcomes for cancer patients.Targeted therapy is a promising drug treatment that attacks specific features of cancer cells, known as molecular targets, to stop the cancer growing and spreading.

The development of targeted therapy drugs has led to improved survival rates for several types of cancer and some patients have seen very encouraging outcomes during targeted therapy treatment. These drugs are becoming an increasingly important part of cancer treatment and may help patients;

• 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

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

While targeted therapy drugs have been effective in treating some people with these types of cancers, they may not be the best treatment option for everyone.




Where can I find more information?

To help patients and their families understand more about targeted therapy, we have developed a new national fact sheet.

Understanding Targeted Therapy is the only standalone fact sheet of its kind that's been created to give cancer patients and their families an overview of what targeted therapy is, and how it may be used to treat cancer.

Up until now, there has only been very limited information about targeted therapy available for patients.

Reviewed by a national panel of experts in targeted therapy and people affected by cancer, this easy to read fact sheet explains how targeted therapy works, outlines the different types of drugs currently available in Australia, discusses when targeted therapy is used, and explains how the drugs are given.

It also discusses some of the challenges of targeted therapy, including possible side effects and how to manage them.


This new resource is available on the Cancer Council NSW website or as a PDF to download and print. For more information about cancer, treatment options and the support services we have available please contact our Cancer Nurses on 13 11 20.

Found in:  News - 2018 | View all news