Cancer is one of those words we don’t like to use or hear because it carries a lot of weight. It’s scary. For most of us, it’s affected our lives in one way or another either personally, through a family member, a friend, or just an acquaintance. We all understand the gravity of this condition. While there still is no cure for cancer, there are many treatments available and for some cancers, if found early, the survival rate is high. One of the available but lessen known treatments is immunotherapy. This form of treatment uses the body’s own immune system to fight off cancer and can even be used in tandem with other treatments to make it more effective.
Even though immunotherapy is used to treat cancer and is praised for it’s effects, there are also some very real and serious risks. The only way to determine whether immunotherapy is right for you is to consult with a doctor. If it’s something you’ve been considering or want to learn more about, here’s the perfect place to start! Let’s take a moment to look at the benefits and risks of immunotherapy…
1. What is Immunotherapy?
Before we begin discussing whether or not immunotherapy is good or bad and the pros and cons of this particular treatment, we must first talk about what it is. Our immune system is designed to fight off disease and infection to keep our body healthy. It’s made up of white blood cells, as well as organs and tissues of the lymph system, like bone marrow, says WebMD.
Immunotherapy is a treatment of drugs that are designed to encourage our own body to fight against and get rid of cancer. They help the immune system work harder and make it easier for them to fight off and kill cancer cells. There are many immunotherapy drugs that are approved and being used as a viable treatment against cancer, but there are many others that are still in the clinical trial phase, being tested on whether or not they are safe and effective. The Cleveland Clinic points out that it was first used for treating kidney cancer and melanoma, but it’s now also being used as a treatment for various types of cancer.
So before starting immunotherapy, let’s go over the risks and benefits because there are plenty for each.