Just the idea of being struck with cancer is a terrifying one. After the initial diagnosis, you will be presented with an array of different treatments, from chemotherapy or radiation to immunotherapy. The first two use outside, environmental factors (drugs and intense beams of energy, respectively) to combat cancer, while immunotherapy is more about an internal fight against cancer.
Immunotherapy is used to strengthen your immune system and make it powerful enough to kill off cancerous cells. This form of treatment is still not well understood, so we’ve outlined the six most important things you should know about it when you are making your choice as to which treatment to pursue.
1. What Cancers is Immunotherapy Effective at Treating?
Immunotherapy treatment is a process wherein your body is encouraged to make more white blood cells and strengthen the lymph nodes in order to fight off such cancer as those of the lung and certain types of melanomas. Immunotherapy can also be quite effective at treating kidney cancer. It is shown to have beneficial effects on the immune system, so it will help any other treatment that you need.
2. Can I Use Immunotherapy With Other Forms of Treatment?
Immunotherapy works to stimulate the natural defences of your immune system, making it better able to fight off cancer and other diseases. It is astoundingly effective when used in conjunction with other therapies, like chemotherapy. They perform like a backup system, with one defeating the cancerous cells that the other treatment might miss. There are many types of immunotherapy, so it is best to consult with your doctor about which would be the biggest help for you.
3. Weakened Cancerous Cells can Provide a Wealth of Information
We can learn a lot from how a disease will act when it’s being fought against. A lot of researchers believe that other therapies, like radiation therapy and chemotherapy, can weaken cells to the point that immune system cells are able to fight them off. We already see the fruits of this study. There is now a vaccine, a standard part of immunotherapy, which can make cancerous cells isolate themselves from healthy cells and then be irradiated, killing them off. There is a lot more to be understood, but immunotherapy is providing a lot of insight into the growth and eradication of cancer.
4. It Can Give Your B Cells Superpowers
A person’s immune system will create two types of cells, both T and B cells. Using immunotherapy as your choice of cancer treatment can equip the B cells with new and exciting antibodies that will make them better at targeting the cancerous cells, destroying them with precision. Immunotherapy can also make T cells more effective, allowing them to attach to and defeat the cancerous cells with a better rate.
5. Your Immune System can Enlist Germs to Fight Cancer
Even if you only have a hazy understanding of the immune system, you probably know that it’s there to keep your body safe from bacteria, viruses and similar things. Did you know that immunotherapy can encourage bacteria to join the fight against cancer in support of your immune system? It not only makes it stronger but increases your defences as well.
6. Your Immune System Can ‘Remember’ a Threat
Using immunotherapy has the potential to keep you healthy in the long run. By strengthening your immune system and making it easier to fight off cancers, your immune system can remember the foes it has vanquished. If similar cancer ever shows its face again, your immune system will be prepared to fight it off.