JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Mar. 19, 2013)— Cmdr. Jim Keck, Naval Hospital family physician, explains to patient Jessie Kemp some preventive techniques to prevent colon cancer Mar. 19.  March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and a good time to learn more about colorectal cancer and how it can be prevented or best treated.(U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel/Released).

Tarceva is a drug intended for metastatic cell lung cancer (non-small). It is in a form of pill that is orally taken at least an hour before meals or 2 hours right after meals. It is not advisable to take it along with food as it will just increase the chance to develop its side effects.

This is given to patients with NSCLC or non- small cell lung cancer. This is of which cancer already spread to the other parts of the body with some mutation type of EGFR. The health practitioner may conduct a test to ensure that this drug is best suited for the body. This medication is not intended to use simultaneously as other kinds of chemotherapy to treat NSCLC.

How does it work?

This is not a traditional drug used in chemotherapy. It can affect not just the cancer cells but even the healthy cells. Its method of work is not entirely known. It can impede the activity of a certain protein known as EGFR or epidermal growth factor receptor. There are cancer cells with EGFR mutations which can help it not just to divide but also to grow. Hence, physicians may conduct tests that can check if the cancer has mutations of EGFR just to ensure Tarceva suits your needs.

Possible side effects

Serious side effects can be expected with the use of this drug. It may include interstitial lung disease (lung problems). As it targets a major organ, it can cause death. Thus, if any of lung issues develop like, cough, shortness of breath, and fever, the drug need to be stopped.

Kidney and liver problems may also develop. Because of these concerns, death may also follow.

Other conditions may include gastrointestinal problems, severe skin ailments, eye diseases, bleeding, and others. With all those possible side effects, it is absolutely advisable to get examined by the physician first and get monitored throughout the medication period.

  1. October 14, 2017

    Erlotinib hydrochloride, most commonly known as Tarceva, is a drug used to treat lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and a few other types of metastatic cancer. It acts on the epidermal growth factor receptor. Tarceva interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their spread in the body. Don’t take it if pregnant, it can affect the fetus.

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