The human body is an incredible thing. You are probably unaware of this, but right now, your heart is beating 60 to 100 beats a minute, you’re blinking 15-20 times per minute, and you’re taking 12 to 16 breaths … and that’s only the beginning.
Researchers are continuing to discover new ways our bodies keep us healthy to fight against infections and diseases. For instance, our body’s immune system naturally detects and destroys abnormal cells to prevent many cancers from developing. But sometimes our immune system needs a little help.
Scientists have found ways to use the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer. A type of treatment, called immunotherapy, helps the body recognize cancer cells and strengthen its immune response against tumors. Immunotherapy uses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer by:
Because of the immune system’s power, immunotherapy treatments have the potential to achieve complete, long-lasting remissions and cancer cures.
Though not as widely used as chemotherapy, radiation or surgery, immunotherapy has been approved to treat many types of cancer. Typically given intravenously (through an IV), orally, as a topical cream, or through a catheter, the main types of immunotherapy now being used to treat cancer include:
Most people who receive immunotherapy treatments have cancers that have either recurred, spread or advanced throughout the body.
To determine if immunotherapy is right for you, here are some questions you could ask your doctor:
Immunotherapy clinical trials are critical to bringing new and potentially lifesaving treatments to more patients with a variety types of cancer. As research continues to advance, scientists will continue to find new ways to leverage the body’s immune system to fight cancer.
In the meantime, you can do your part to not get cancer by taking care of your body and giving it the best chance to fight disease.
Read more about clinical trials and find one near you.
Has immunotherapy been part of your treatment? Tell us in the below comments.
If you have reached this screen, your current device or browser is unable to access the full Edward-Elmhurst Health Web site.
To see the full site, please upgrade your browser to the most recent version of Safari, Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer. If you cannot upgrade your browser, you can remain on this site.