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What is Immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy is a cancer treatment that helps the bodies own immune system better detect and slow the growth of cancer cells. As part of it's responsibility, the immune system detects and eliminates abnormal cells in the body and in most cases prevents the growth of these cells from continuing.

Although it is the immune system's responsibility to detect and eliminate these abnormal cells, oftentimes, the cancer cells find ways of adapting to avoid destruction by the immune system. Examples of this are:

• Genetic changes that make them less detectable by the immune system.

• Proteins on their surface that deactivate immune cells.

• Changing the normal cells around the tumor so they interfere with how the immune system responds to the cancer cells.

Immunotherapy helps the body's efficacy when fighting cancer cells.

Side Effects from Immunotherapy

Since immunotherapy affects the body's immune system, side effects may occur. These side effects occur after the immune system has been amplified to fight the cancer and also attacks the healthy cells and tissues. These side effects include:

Click here to visit the National Cancer Institute for more information about immunotherapy:

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