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36

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

:

Kidney Cancer, Version 1.2017

4

Overview of cancer treatments

Targeted therapy

Erlotinib

Erlotinib is a type of targeted therapy called an

EGFR (

e

pidermal

g

rowth

f

actor

r

eceptor) inhibitor.

EGFR is a protein on the surface of cells that is

involved in cell growth. It is found on both normal

cells and cancer cells. Molecules outside of cells

can attach to EGFR. When this happens, EGFR

sends signals into the cell that tell the cell to grow.

Erlotinib blocks the signals from EGFR that tell

cancer cells to grow. This slows or stops new

cancer cells from being made. Erlotinib is given

as a pill that is swallowed. Common side effects

of this drug include skin rash, diarrhea, nausea,

feeling tired, and not feeling hungry.

Complementary and

alternative medicine

CAM (

c

omplementary and

a

lternative

m

edicine) is a

group of treatments sometimes used by people with

cancer. Many CAMs are being studied to see if they

are truly helpful.

• Complementary medicines are meant to be used

alongside standard therapies, most often for

relaxation, improving your health, or to prevent or

reduce side effects.

• Alternative medicine is treatment or techniques

that are used instead of standard treatments such

as chemotherapy or radiation. Some are sold as

cures even though they haven’t been proven to

work in clinical trials.

Many cancer centers or local hospitals have

complementary therapy programs that offer

acupuncture, yoga, and other types of therapy.

It’s important to tell your treatment team if you are

using any complementary medicine, especially

supplements, vitamins, or herbs. Some of these things

can interfere with your cancer treatment. For more

information about CAM, ask your doctor and visit the

websites listed in Part 6.