Cancerous cells affect the body in many ways, which is why doctors offer a wide range of treatments. If you’ve recently been diagnosed, you may have come across immunotherapy. This treatment focuses on improving the body’s natural defense and may be what you’re looking for. Below are answers to common questions to help with your decision.
Your Guide to Immunotherapy
What is immunotherapy?
Your immune system naturally detects and defends against bacteria, viruses, and other invasive bodies. Since cancer cells evolve from healthy ones, they aren’t always recognized.
This is why the immune system doesn’t respond, and cancer grows. Immunotherapy stimulates and increases your body’s ability to fight off cancerous cells.
What are the different types?
There are several immune system therapies your oncologist may recommend. Immune checkpoint inhibitors are medications that cut off checkpoints in the body. They’re normally opened to prevent the immune system from overworking. By strategically blocking them, there will be a stronger response to areas with cancerous cells.
Monoclonal antibodies are immuno-proteins that attach to cancer cells, so the immune system can quickly identify and destroy them. Your oncologist may also recommend T-cell transfer therapy.
Medical professionals remove a sample of T-cells from the tumor. These immune cells are then strengthened in a lab and returned so they can better fight the cancer.
How does it work?
Immunotherapies are administered through a vein, in capsules you swallow, creams rubbed on your skin, or into your bladder. They serve three purposes: slowing cancer growth, destroying cancer cells, and preventing cancer from spreading to other parts of the body.
B cells release antibodies that bind to cancerous cells and disrupt growth. CD4 T-cells, the focal point of T-cell transfer therapy, send distress signals that attract B cells and CD8 killer T-cells to cancerous tissue.
Macrophages and dendritic cells consume cancer cells and present them to T-cells to identify and destroy. Immunotherapy enhances activity across all fronts to best combat cancerous cells.
How often is treatment recommended?
The frequency and duration depend on the type of cancer, how advanced it is, and how you respond to side effects. Some patients receive it every day, week, or month depending on how long their body needs to recover and fight cancer cells between treatments. An oncologist will carefully monitor changes in the cancerous tumor and your blood to see if the treatment is working.
Contact Integrative Medicine of New York, PLLC if you want to explore immunotherapy further. Based in Garden City, NY, this medical center is committed to finding effective health treatments for their patients. They welcome patients with AIDS, cancer, COPD, and other conditions, so call (516) 759-4200. Explore their full scope of work on their website.