How Cancer Affects Your Immune System and What to Do About It

It’s perhaps your biggest ally in helping your body fight disease. And understanding how your immune system joins forces with cancer treatment can give you a positive advantage.

Basically, your immune system targets disease and infection. It detects and destroys anything it sees as a threat.

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Parasites


  • Unhealthy cells including cancer cells!

The question perhaps you and everyone asks

Having a strong immune system should reduce your body’s vulnerability to illness and disease, right? So why do you still get sick?

Or receive a cancer diagnosis?

Your body’s immune system “highway”

The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and tissues. It collects and transports excess fluids (including some fats) from other tissues throughout your body. It then provides them access to your bloodstream.

There’s a close connection between your lymphatic system and your immune system.

Many of the disease-fighting cells of the immune system: Begin in the bone marrow. Mature in the thymus. Are stored in strategic locations. Use the lymphatic “highway” system to travel through the body, and along with the lymph nodes and spleen filter out harmful materials and germs. An immune response occurs when the immune system is activated and responds. This can occur when a foreign invader is detected.1

How cancer takes advantage of your immune system

Theories abound. One is that your immune system attacks cells it views as foreign. And cancer cells start out as normal (looking) cells.

Any changes the cancer cell makes within can still appear normal to your immune system. The mutation can occur, the cells can grow and multiply, and no attack is launched to destroy them.

Cancer cells can turn off your body’s natural immune response and suppress the activity of local immune cells (which protect a specific organ or other part of the body). Within the tumor, the cancer cells can create an environment that interferes with the effectiveness of the immune response. 2

There are multiple layers to the somewhat covert attack of cancer cells on your body’s immune system. This makes it all the more necessary that you give yourself an advantage when receiving a cancer diagnosis.

A counter-attack on cancer

The ability of cancer to hide from your body’s natural, disease-fighting immune system calls for new strategies. Immunotherapy helps your immune system by strengthening or restoring its ability to fight cancer.


  • Stops cancer from spreading (metastasizing)
  • Increases your immune system’s cancer-killing efficiency
  • Reduces the speed or progress of cancer’s growth
  • Delivers therapies directly into cancer cells

Questions about immunotherapy and its unique relationship with your body’s immune system are important to your cancer fight. We’re experienced and prepared to provide you the answers you need about this unique and effective cancer treatment.

Contact us to discover how to give your immune system an advantage following a cancer diagnosis. Schedule a consultation to discuss immunotherapy.


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