To speak to a specialist cancer nurse,
freefone the National Cancer Helpline
1800 200 700
Mon—Thurs 9am—7pm Fri 9am—5pm
Iressa is most commonly used in patients who have advanced or metastatic Non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Iressa is a type of cancer growth inhibitor and works by preventing the cancer cells from communicating with each other. Cancer cells communicate through a series of chemical reactions and Iressa blocks these reactions.
On the surface of the cancer cells are EGFRs (epidermal growth factor receptors) . Normally the EGFRs allow epidermal growth factor (a protein in the body) to attach to it. When this happens it triggers a chemical process inside the cell, making it grow and multiply.
Iressa works by attaching onto the EGFR on the surface of the cancer cell and therefore blocks the epidermal growth factor from attaching. This stops the chemical process inside the cell from happening and the cancer cell does not grow or multiply.
Iressa is a tablet.
Iressa is normally taken once daily. It is usually advisable to take the medication at the same time every day, with or without food.
While everybody´s reaction to Iressa is different, below is a list of the most common side effects. If you experience a symptom that you think is related to Iressa but is not on this list, tell your doctor or nurse.
If you have diarrhoea it is important to drink plenty of fluids. Tell your doctor or nurse so that they can monitor you and advise what medications to take.
If you suffer from nausea or vomiting while on Iressa, tell your doctor who can prescribe anti-sickness (anti-emetic) drugs to help you.
Some patients develop a rash on their skin. It is important to tell your doctor or nurse if you experience itchy, sore or dry skin.
Some patients experience bleeding while taking Iressa. If you notice blood in your urine, experience nosebleeds or any other type of bleeding, tell your doctor or nurse.
If you find your appetite is not what it was, tell your doctor or nurse who can refer you on to a dietician.
Some patients have reported problems with their eyes while on Iressa. If you notice changes in your vision, redness or pain around the eye, tell your doctor or nurse.
If you notice your mouth has become dry or sore while on Iressa, tell your doctor or nurse.
It is common to get very tired while on Iressa, you can discuss this further with your doctor or nurse.
Iressa can affect your blood pressure so if you already have blood pressure problems you may not be suitable for this treatment. Your blood pressure will be monitored regularly while on Iressa. It is important to report any of the following to your doctor; dizziness, headaches or blurred vision.
Sometimes Iressa causes inflammation of the lungs. While this is unusual it is potentially very serious and therefore it is very important you tell your doctor or nurse if you notice that you have become breathless or if your breathing has changed.
Rarely Iressa causes liver damage. This will be monitored by your doctor or nurse with regular blood tests.
National Cancer Helpline
Freefone 1 800 200 700
Talk to a specialist nurse
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