The start of the 21st century has produced advances in cancer care that have improved both survival rates and quality of life for many persons diagnosed with cancer. Targeted therapy has given new hope for controlling cancer as a chronic illness. Alone, or in combination with traditional therapies such as surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy, this new form of therapy targets malignant cells, halting tumor growth and the potential metastatic spread of disease. Toxicities are limited, but some are serious and may require intensive care. It is imperative for the experienced critical care nurse to have an understanding of these new treatment options and those on the horizon, as these therapies are the future of cancer care. Whereas in previous decades, patients with cancer may not have survived an intensive care admission for treatment complications or advanced disease, many patients now are recovering from life-threatening events, continuing treatment for their disease, and going on to live meaningful, good-quality lives.

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