These treatments interfere with cancer growth, stopping development and spread. Some people with non small cell lung cancer have changes in their cancer cells called epidermal growth factor mutations. These are identified by testing cancer cells obtained from a lung biopsy. If this mutation is detected, as occurs in 1 in 10 people, treatments targeting the abnormality may be of benefit. The therapy may be given as your first treatment, or after previous courses of chemotherapy.
Generally there are fewer side effects with these targeted therapies than with chemotherapy, although they can cause tiredness, diarrhoea, skin changes, sore mouth and loss of appetite.