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This year, the projected number of cancer patients in India was recorded around 13.9 lakh and this may surpass 15.7 lakh by 2025. Out of these, more than 1300 Indians are dying every day due to lack of awareness and unavailability of effective treatment. Though science & technology has come a long way in finding the perfect cure for cancer-related issues, somehow cancer remains the deadliest disease for many.
Many cancer patients are already familiar with the various common or traditional treatments procedures like:
- Radiation Therapy
But, scientists, as well as medical researchers, are continuously working on finding the perfect cure and combat the cancers’ severe pain. Unlike chemotherapy, immunotherapy is the most advanced and reliable development in providing millions of cancer patients a “ray of hope” to live a pain-free and healthy life. This blog will explain everything about immunotherapy that will help you prepare your mind and fight against cancer victoriously.
Immunotherapy or Immuno-oncology is a broad term for cancer therapies to fight cancer. Medical experts define immunotherapy as an “evolving and promising biological therapy to treat cancer disease effectively. This form of treatment usually works by stimulating or suppressing the immune system that helps a person minimize the risk of cancer. CAR T-cell therapy and checkpoint inhibitors are the most common immunotherapy drugs used to develop healthy cells that further identifies and attacks cancer cells directly”.
Simply put, Immunotherapy is the type of treatment that naturally triggers the patient’s immune system and often acts as a body’s natural defense to fight cancer. Immunotherapy can boost or make relevant changes in the immune system to find the cause and tackle the cancer cells.
With years of research, testing, and demonstration, immunotherapy is considered safe and has already been approved in the United States or elsewhere. Although scientists have not fully mastered potential severe risks related to cancer, it is helping in successfully managing the symptoms and helping save many cancer patients’ lives.
5 Main Types of Immunotherapy
Health providers usually use the five main types of immunotherapies to treat cancer patients:
Adoptive cell therapy
As the name suggests, this involves removing, changing, and then reintroducing a sufferer’s modified immune system into the body. The CAR T-cell therapy modified cells completely and ended up killing the cancer-related cells.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the type of vaccine that allows the immune system to respond positively and prevents the body from cancer disease after stimulation.
Treatment like checkpoint inhibitors, cytokines, interferon, and interleukins are the substances used to stimulate the immune system to find and kill cancer cells strongly. Along with this, the immunomodulators also aim to bring a change in the body’s overall biological response.
Monoclonal or therapeutic antibodies
The lab-made proteins or antibodies are used to attack the specific parts of the cancer cells while curing the affecting area.
The specialists bring a useful change in these viruses and modify them accordingly to kill cancer cells.
Can Immunotherapy Effectively Cure Different Types of Cancers?
As immunotherapy uses the power of the immune system, this first-line therapy is scientifically proven to prevent, control, and eliminate the risk of cancer. From the preventive vaccine for liver cancer, brain cancer, and bladder cancer, immunotherapy is proven to extend the life of cancer patients by saving them from other life-threatening cancer-related diseases like:
- Breast Cancer
- Cervical Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Head and Neck Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
- Skin Cancer
- Stomach Cancer
- Uterine (Endometrial Cancer)
Immunology is a breakthrough treatment that is impacting as well as targeting every cancer type differently to fight against the disease.
There could be a possible reason why your doctor/physician has suggested this powerful therapy for you. Immunotherapy is a good choice for cancer patients because:
- Some treatments like chemotherapy or radiation have failed miserably in treating the different types of cancers like skin cancers. Immunotherapy is a new-age therapy that not only responds well but allows your cancer diseases to go away with time.
- Your chemotherapy works better only if you have gone through immunotherapy before that.
- Your immune system learns to adapt to the changes that go after cancer-growing cells in the future. It means immunotherapy prepares your immune system in advance and ward off signs of cancer that are most likely to return.
- Immunotherapy is designed only to target your immune system and not the whole body. That quality makes this treatment less risky than the other traditional therapies.
The Side-EFfects Related to Immunotherapy
Being a promising form of cancer treatment, immunotherapy is most likely to cause a little or more severe risks depending on the person’s age, the severity of the diseases including other factors. The most common variety of side-effects are:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Diarrhea or colitis
- Bone/Muscle pain
- Loss of taste and appetite
- Skin rash
- Mouth sores
- Changes in blood pressure
- Shortness of breath or pneumonitis
- Pain or intense weakness
There are chances of the side-effect becoming less severe after the first therapy. The care team, such as nutritional support, pain management, oncology rehabilitation, etc, will guide you throughout the immunotherapy procedure to minimize the side effects and make the whole process worthy for your life.
Get Medical Experts Advice Before Getting Immunotherapy
Do you know only 20 percent of patients responded well to immunotherapy and about 5 to 10 percent of patients have shown no or little auto-immune reactions?
Having said that, the success rate of any life-threatening disease including cancer depends on various individual factors and of course the type and cancer. Generally, immunotherapy is a new treatment that meets the expectations of millions of cancer patients globally by providing them cancer-free life.
While every cancer is unique and brings challenges of all kinds, immunotherapy is one-of-a-kind therapy that is more likely to treat a wide variety of cancers effectively.
As immunotherapy is continuously evolving, it can often be used as a last resort for those dealing with this deadly disease throughout their lives. Therefore, speak to your healthcare provider to know more about this standalone treatment known as “Immunotherapy”