Immunotherapy cancer treatment continues to pop up in the news for its promising ability to treat various forms of cancer, including lymphoma, melanoma and lung cancer. In fact, former president Jimmy Carter was recently treated for advanced melanoma with Keytruda (pembrolizumab), an immunotherapy drug, which played an important role in his treatment that also included surgery and radiation.
So what exactly is this promising cancer therapy and how exactly does it work? That’s a question we hope to answer with our new immunotherapy cancer treatment page that offers an overview of this treatment, including a video about immunotherapy with oncologist Dr. Stephen Lemon.
Immunotherapy treatment uses the patient’s immune system to help battle their cancer. Our immune systems may not be able to detect cancer cells, which can cloak themselves from the immune system, tricking it into believing that everything is ok, when, in fact, the cancer cells are growing. Immunotherapy helps trigger the immune system’s response to these cells, so that it can find these “invader” cells to target and destroy them.
There are currently a variety of different forms of immunotherapy treatments, including cancer vaccines. These may be used as the sole form of cancer treatment or in conjunction with more traditional treatments, including chemotherapy.
As with any type of cancer treatment, there are various common and not-so-common side effects that patients need to be aware of and consider.
Overall, immunotherapy is showing a lot of potential as a treatment option for various cancers and is currently being studied to take on many other types of cancer. As more research begins to uncover the mysteries of the human immune system, scientists are finding more ways to use immunotherapy to take on cancer, such as with various new cancer drugs that are being tested in clinical trials.