Are you or is someone you love battling cancer?
If so, you should know about a new type of cancer treatment called immunotherapy. Some experts rave that immunotherapy is the future of cancer treatment. Therefore, you might consider looking into it as an option.
Everyone battling cancer is different, so make sure you discuss it with your doctor to see if it’s right for you or your loved one.
Before you have that conversation, though, it’s a good idea to arm yourself with a lot of knowledge on what cancer immunotherapy is and how it works. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Cancer Immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy is a type of biological therapy, which means that it uses living organisms to fight the disease. When you start immunotherapy, you’re strengthening your body’s own defense mechanisms against cancer.
Cancer immunotherapy comes in many different types. The main types you’ll see today include immune checkpoint inhibitors, T-cell transfer therapy, monoclonal antibodies, treatment vaccines, and immune system modulators.
Each type of treatment works slightly differently and treats a different type of cancer. Make sure you speak with your doctor to see which type of treatment will be right for you.
Important Things to Know About Immunotherapy
Now that you know how immunotherapy works, it’s important to understand some of the pros and cons. Your doctor will go over this in more detail with you, but here are a few important things to know to help you get started:
1. It Only Works For Certain Types of Cancer
We discussed many different types of immunotherapy earlier, but unfortunately, there isn’t a treatment available for all types of cancers yet.
Checkpoint inhibitors, for example, treat only advanced melanoma and advanced lung cancer. There is also one vaccine approved to treat prostate cancer. More research and treatment options are coming for common cancers such as the brain, breast, and lung.
Check out the National Brain Appeal or other organizations that support your type of cancer for information on the latest research and treatment plans.
2. Each Treatment Plan Looks Different
Every treatment plan will look different, depending on the type of immunotherapy you receive, the type of cancer you have, and many other factors.
Some immunotherapy treatments are intravenous, while others involve pills or injections. Sometimes you’ll do immunotherapy with chemotherapy, and other times, it’s administered on its own. Once you decide on a type of immunotherapy, your doctor will discuss a treatment plan in detail with you.
3. There Are Still Side Effects
Many doctors and experts say that the side effects of immunotherapy are less severe than other treatments, such as chemotherapy. However, there are still some side effects patients should know about.
Some patients have flu-like symptoms, while others have fluid retention, heart palpitations, nasal congestion, diarrhea, and an increased risk of infections.
Talk to Your Doctor Today
Battling cancer is a long and tiring process, but you don’t have to do it alone. There are plenty of treatment plans and resources out there that can help you reach remission.
Talk to a doctor about cancer immunotherapy and see if it’s right for you, and check out our blog for more health-related articles.