What is immunotherapy and how does it work? Immunotherapy is a common cancer treatment that works by activating and suppressing the immune system. In recent years, it has been used widely to treat various forms of cancer. Like other cancer treatments, there are various immunotherapy side effects. These side effects may happen at any point throughout the treatment. Do you know the different types and side effects of immunotherapy? Let’s have a look at it.
Different Types of Immunotherapy
How can immunotherapy help cancer patients? Immunotherapy uses substances from your body or artificial substances to boost the immune system and allow the body to destroy cancer cells. It ensures the immune system cures cancer. There are various types of immunotherapy to treat cancer. Some of these include:
T-cell Transfer Therapy
Also known as immune cell therapy or adoptive immunotherapy, it is a treatment that makes your immune cells attack against cancer. There are two primary types of T-cell transfer therapy: CAR T-cell therapy and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (or TIL) therapy. Both therapies involve collecting your immune cells, expanding a large count of cells in the lab, and injecting them back through your veins.
Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
How effective are immunotherapy drugs to treat lung cancer? Immunotherapy helps a person’s immune system control or eliminate cancer. Immune-based cancer treatments and therapies might treat advanced lung cancer. Immune checkpoint inhibitors are the drugs that restrict your immune checkpoints which is a normal part of the immune system. By blocking the checkpoints, drugs help the immune system respond strongly to the cancer cells.
Cancer Treatment Vaccines
Another type of immunotherapy is cancer treatment vaccines used in people who already have cancer. These vaccines allow the immune system to recognize the antigens and destroy the cancer cells.
These are the proteins made in laboratories that target cancer cells. It acts like proteins called antibodies that are part of our immune system. Monoclonal Antibodies may also be known as therapeutic antibodies.
Potential Side Effects of Immunotherapy
What are the common immunotherapy side effects? Fatigue, vomiting, headache, nausea, and high blood pressure come under the list. The side effects of immunotherapy are explained below:
Fever and Chills
The patient’s temperature may help regulate the body after immunotherapy. One effective way to manage the fever and chills is to cool down the forehead using a cloth. Also, you can take the blanket off to avoid overheating.
High Blood Pressure
Immunotherapy and potential complications may induce high blood pressure in some people. Following a balanced diet, avoiding smoking, limiting alcohol, and doing exercise are the best ways to manage high blood pressure naturally. Are you worried about your blood pressure? Here’s the complete report on the new findings of high blood pressure and why it is essential to check them every now and then.
Immunotherapy causes different skin reactions such as redness, blistering, and dryness. In some instances, the patient’s fingertips may crack and skin become more sensitive to sunlight. A few ways to manage skin irritation include moisturizing often and cleaning appropriately.
Flu-like symptoms such as severe headaches are other immunotherapy side effects. Regular meditation, gentle massage, and seeking cooling relief help minimize immunotherapy-related risks of headaches.
Besides, diarrhea, itching, drowsiness, arthritis, muscle aches, vomiting, blood clots, and chills are other immunotherapy side effects. Eating nutrient foods such as vegetables, fruits, and nuts is beneficial for managing side effects of immunotherapy. If you feel the side effects are difficult to manage, you can consult a doctor right away.