NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Caring for Adolescents and Young Adults
Part 5: Understanding your treatment options
Tumors need a blood supply in order to grow.
sunitinib) target growth factors that allow cancer
cells to build new blood vessels, cutting off the
tumor’s blood supply and basically starving it
ibritumomab tiuxetan) are a combination of a MAB
and a toxin or radiopharmaceutical that enters and
kills the cell after the MAB latches on.
Because these drugs zero in on molecular targets found
mostly in cancer cells, targeted therapies are less likely to
damage healthy cells and cause side effects.
Some targeted therapies are given as pills; others must
be given into a vein. Some IV medicines can be given in
the outpatient clinic, while others require admission to the
hospital. Intravenous methods include:
An IV push, in which the drug is injected quickly over
a few minutes.
An IV infusion that can last from 30 minutes to
several hours. The medication flows through a tube
that is attached to the catheter. The flow may be
controlled by a machine called an IV pump.
A continuous infusion that can last up to 7 days.
Continuous infusions are always controlled by
electronic IV pumps.
Complementary and alternative medicine
Even though they are often lumped together,
complementary medicine and alternative medicine
are not really the same thing.
are treatments and
techniques that are used instead of conventional
treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation.
Some alternative medicines are sold as cures
even though they haven’t been proven to work. If
there was solid scientific proof that an alternative
treatment or technique was effective against cancer,
it would be included in this guideline. In general,
if something is being promoted as a substitute for
regular medical care, steer clear.
are meant to be used
alongside conventional therapies, most often to
prevent or reduce side effects. Complementary
therapies can be very helpful for dealing with
side effects such as pain or nausea, and will be
discussed in greater detail in Part 6.
It’s important to tell your treatment team if you are
using—or thinking about using—any complementary
treatments, especially nutritional supplements,
vitamins, or herbs, which can interfere or interact with
some cancer medications. Your team can tell you
which treatments might be helpful and which can be