About targeted drugs for advanced cervical cancer

Targeted cancer drugs are treatments that change the way cells work and help the body to control the growth of cancer.

Some drugs seek out and destroy cancer cells. Others help the body to attack the cancer.

A targeted drug called bevacizumab is sometimes used as a treatment for advanced cervical cancer. You have it in combination with chemotherapy drugs called paclitaxel and cisplatin. Or you might have it with paclitaxel and topotecan.

About bevacizumab

Bevacizumab is also known by it's brand name, Avastin. It targets a cancer cell protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). This protein helps cancers to grow blood vessels, so they can get food and oxygen from the blood. All cancers need a blood supply to be able to survive and grow.

Bevacizumab blocks this protein and stops the cancer from growing blood vessels. It is starved and can't grow. Treatments that interfere with developing a blood supply are called anti angiogenesis treatments.

How you have bevacizumab

You have bevacizumab (Avastin) as a drip into your bloodstream. A nurse puts a small tube (a cannula) into one of your veins and connects the drip to it.

You might need a central line. This is a long plastic tube that gives the drugs into a large vein, either in your chest or through a vein in your arm. It stays in while you’re having treatment, which may be for a few months.

Side effects

You might have a few side effects. They can include:

  • feeling sick
  • diarrhoea
  • tiredness and weakness
  • high blood pressure
  • pain in your muscles and joints

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