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Targeted therapy for breast cancer

What is targeted therapy?

Targeted therapy blocks the growth and spread of cancer by preventing cancer cells from dividing or destroying them directly.

While standard chemotherapy affects all cells in the body, targeted therapy directs drugs or other specially created substances (e.g., man-made immune system proteins) to attack cancer cells. The goal of targeted therapy is to interfere with specific molecules involved in tumor growth to block the growth and spread of the disease.

Because targeted therapy specifically seeks out cancer cells, it can avoid harm to healthy cells. In turn, targeted therapy may have fewer side effects than standard chemotherapy.

Targeted therapy for breast cancer

In addition to chemotherapy drugs, we may recommend biological response modifiers, such as Herceptin, to treat breast tumors that produce too much of, or overexpress, a protein called HER2. If laboratory testing reveals the HER2 gene in the cancer cells, the medications can help shut down the HER2 gene, thus cutting the cancer cells off from their energy supply.

Your care team will likely combine breast cancer targeted drug therapy with other treatments, such as chemotherapy, to help control cancer that has spread or to prevent breast cancer recurrence.

Helping you maintain your quality of life

Throughout your targeted drug therapy, your care team will also provide various integrative oncology services, such as nutrition therapy, naturopathic medicine, mind-body medicine and oncology rehabilitation to help keep you strong, reduce side effects and improve your quality of your life.

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