When should I opt for immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy is a specialized branch of medicine that works on the body’s immunological system. It has been proven to be effective in treating certain kinds of cancers. You could speak to your oncologist about whether your cancer treatment protocol will benefit from the inclusion of immunotherapy. Some oncologists may prescribe immunotherapy alongside with conventional oncological approaches to cancer treatment. Others might recommend only immunotherapy. The choice would depend on multiple factors including the type of cancer, its rate of progress, and your health status and so on.
Where should I go for immunotherapy?
Some immunotherapy treatments can be administered even at your home, while others might require you to visit a cancer care institute or medical center.
What kinds of immunotherapy treatments are available?
Immunotherapy treatment options would depend on the type and stage of cancer progression in an individual. Some options that may be considered by your doctor include:
- Monoclonal antibodies such as Herceptin, Avastin, Rituxan or Erbitux
- Cytokines – These are specialized proteins that are used to stimulate and boost the growth of your body’s immune system defense cells. Some cytokines may also be used to promote the growth of T-cells which are capable of destroying cancer cells.
- Antibody-targeted cellular immunotherapy is usually prescribed after a person has undergone other treatment modalities for cancer to eliminate any remaining cancerous or precancerous cells.
Does immunotherapy have side effects?
Immunotherapy also relies on the use of specific drugs and combination drugs that boost the body’s natural immunological response. However, they may nevertheless have certain side effects. The commonly reported side effects of immunotherapy medications include nausea, vomiting, fever, shivering, low blood pressure, loss of appetite and so on. However, the benefits of immunotherapy medications far outweigh their possible side-effects for they contribute significantly towards helping the body fight cancer and also prevent any possibility of future remission.
How much does immunotherapy for cancer cost?
Currently, the costs of immunotherapy drugs are still very high with the average spend per year going past the 2,00,000 dollars mark. Even for those with Medicaid, this could still seem out of reach.