Immunotherapy’s approach is seen as revolutionary and could be better for some types of cancer. This approach is more sustainable and can provide long-term protection against the disease. Studies have shown that the effects of cancer immunotherapy treatment may last long after the completion of the therapy.
The length of treatment varies with each patient and the chosen therapy. But in some cases, immunotherapy may take longer than chemotherapy because doctors need to ascertain that the treatment is mobilizing the immune system to fight the tumors. However, there are some types of chemotherapy that may actually aid in the immune response. For this reason, doctors recommend combining these two treatments to give patients an even bigger chance of beating cancer.
As with many treatments, there may be some side effects. Immunotherapy can cause an overstimulation of the immune response. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, patients may experience flu-like symptoms, muscle aches, fever, chills, dizziness, low blood pressure, rashes, skin dryness, and blistering. This is why at Williams Cancer Institute, we make sure that patients who want to avail of our private pay immunotherapy for cancer are carefully screened and monitored before they undergo treatment.
Why choose immunotherapy as a new alternative cancer treatment to chemotherapy?
Safe and fewer side effects
Several treatments are available for cancer patients, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery. Since some cases demand multiple treatments at multiple times, the chances of side effects are higher when more than one drug is used, such as in combination therapy.
Since immunotherapy, new alternative cancer treatment to chemotherapy, acts like a cancer vaccine, patients can now enjoy a safer, more efficient cancer treatment, with less frequent dosing and fewer adverse effects, in the form of immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy utilizes your immune cells to specifically target cancer cells. It is less invasive and has fewer adverse effects compared to conventional cancer treatment. This is achieved by obtaining sample T-cells, which are immune cells that naturally destroy pathogens and cancer cells, hijacking them to specifically target tumor cells that are usually in stealth mode from intrinsic immune cells, and are given back to the patient intravenously.
Normally, T-cells have checkpoints that regulate their activity, turning off their offensive potential upon contact with healthy cells. Cancer cells take advantage of this and turn off the T-cells, so that they bypass the cancer cells. With immunotherapy, the modified immune cells continue to function upon encountering tumor cells, preventing deactivation, and ultimately eliminating the cancer cells.
Can be combined with other treatments
As a progressive pathological process that can be diagnosed in its more advanced stages, cancer may call for multiple forms of treatment to sufficiently deal with the problem, such as combined chemoradiotherapy, or adjuvant chemotherapy after the resection of a tumor. Immunotherapy can also be combined with other cancer treatments to improve prognosis, offering versatility, efficiency, and better outcomes.
Types of cancers best for immunotherapy
Immunotherapy works in many ways, but it is commonly used and is taken as the standard care for treating:
- Some types of skin cancer, especially melanoma
- Kidney cancer
- Lung cancer
- Bladder cancer
However, since this treatment boosts the immune system, it can potentially be effective against any type of cancer. It may also work against cancers that are usually resistant to radiation or chemotherapy.