Immunotherapy cancer treatment
21 Aug 2020
How does immunotherapy work?The immune system is designed to protect the body from threats, it recognises when a foreign organism, such as a germ, enters the body and attacks it to stop if from harming the body.
Immunotherapy can boost the immune system to help it fight against cancer or remove barriers to the immune system that may be preventing it attacking the cancer.
Types of immunotherapyThere are different types of immunotherapy, checkpoint inhibitors and immune stimulants.
Checkpoint inhibitors are cancer treatment drugs designed to allow the body to recognise and destroy cancer cells. These types of drugs are currently the most widely used form of immunotherapy.
Immune stimulants aim to stimulate the immune system so it reactivates and attacks cancer cells.
Can immunotherapy work for all cancers?Surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are still the most widely used cancer treatments but immunotherapy can benefit some people with certain types of cancer. Your oncologist will advise of the best treatment for you.
What are the side effects of immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy can cause side effects, many of which happen when the immune system that has been revved-up to act against the cancer also acts against healthy cells and tissues in your body.
Side effects can vary depending on the type of treatment you receive and how your body responds.
Side effects can the impact the skin, lungs, gastrointestinal and digestive tract, muscles and joints, eyes, endocrine system, chest and lungs, liver, kidneys and can have neurological effects.
View the image for a comprehensive list of side effects by body area.
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