Posted in: Cancer by Dr. Tarang Krishna
What is immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy empowers your immune system against cancer. It uses the patient’s immune system to fight cancer. Rather than attacking cancer itself, the immunology cancer treatment strengthens the immune system and stimulates the ability to attack cancers which have not responded or may have become resistant.
How is immunotherapy different from chemotherapy?
Most chemotherapy agents cause the non-specific destruction of both cancer cells and healthy cells. Widespread destruction of rapidly proliferating cells causes side effects that impact patients’ quality of life leading to fatigue, hair loss, nausea, and vomiting, etc. On the other hand, immunotherapy agents act on the immune system, enabling it to attack and destroy only the cancer cells.
What adverse effects might result during and/or after cancer immunotherapy treatment?
Most immunology cancer treatments are tolerated much better than traditional chemotherapy or radiation. Immunotherapy essentially kicks the immune system into overdrive, which will impact each patient differently. However, some symptoms are nonspecific such as fatigue, headache, or isolated to particular systems such as diarrhea or abdominal pain.
Cancer Immunotherapy can work on many different kinds of cancer -
1. Immunotherapy enables the immune system to recognize and target cancer cells.
2. The list of cancers treated using immunotherapy is extensive.
3. Immunotherapy, in today’s time, has been an effectual cancer treatment for patients with certain types of cancer. It also benefits people who have been resistant to chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
Cancer immunotherapy offers the possibility for long-term cancer remission -
1. Immunotherapy can “train” the immune system to remember cancer cells resulting in longer-lasting remissions.
2. Clinical studies on long-term overall survival have shown that the beneficial responses to cancer immunotherapy treatment are durable—that is, they can be maintained even after treatment is completed.
What fact should all cancer patients know?
1. Your cancer specialist must explain the differences between chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
2. Discuss all the possible and adverse events associated with immunotherapy.
3. Explain that the disease progression takes place before a response to immunotherapy occurs. Response to immunotherapy can sometimes take weeks or months to manifest.
4. Emphasize that response to immunotherapy treatment often lasts longer than a response to chemotherapy and other cancer treatment modalities.
5. Immunotherapy (provided at Cancer Healer Center) can benefit anyone and everyone. It is not age specific or disease-specific and is given at all stages.
Immunotherapy represents a new and promising avenue for research. This is a definite change in the paradigm of how we have approached cancer treatment in the past.