Medically Reviewed by Karim Tazi, MD
The human immune system is an amazing network of fighting cells. It works hard all day, every day to protect the body from infections, foreign organisms and defective cells in the body. Cancer can survive when malignant cells fool the immune system by hiding, escaping and producing signals that halt the immune system’s assault.
“Today, we’re learning to use a patient’s immune system against cancer,” explains McLeod Oncologist Dr. Karim Tazi. “Immunotherapy is now another essential tool, alongside surgery, chemotherapy and radiation in the cancer fighting armamentarium. Immunotherapy can work several ways to overcome what seemed to be the cancer’s edge in the fight. We can help the immune system stop the cancer from spreading to other parts of the body, slow or stop the cancer cell’s growth or even obliterate malignant cells.”
TYPES OF IMMUNOTHERAPY
The ability to successfully treat cancer improves the earlier the tumor or signs of cancer are discovered, diagnosed and treated. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the role of immunotherapy has grown significantly over the past few years. Research is uncovering better ways to predict how likely the treatment may work and when it should be used.
Additionally, intense research efforts are being devoted to discovering and implementing powerful cancer treatment combinations incorporating immunotherapy, targeted therapy, traditional chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
The ability to successfully treat cancer improves with the earlier that tumors or signs of cancer are discovered, diagnosed and treated. Don’t wait. If you think you may have cancer, see your personal physician as soon as possible.
Have a question? Ask a Cancer Specialist.
Sources include: McLeod Health, Cancer Research UK, New York Times, American Cancer Society, American Society of Clinical Oncology