Cochise Oncology

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How is Immunotherapy Administered?

Your immune system protects you from outside invaders, but it also helps protect you from cancer. Immunotherapy helps your immune system target cancer cells and disrupt their functions. This rapidly growing field of cancer treatment works for many types of cancer and can significantly improve your treatment results. 

What is Immunotherapy? 

Immunotherapy is a general term for treatments that harness the immune system to target cancer cells. Cancer cells often have genetic changes that let them avoid being destroyed by the immune system. Immunotherapy lets the immune system identify and attack these cancer cells

These treatments work in many different ways, and they often have fewer side effects than chemotherapy or radiation. Immunotherapy can target cancer cells more precisely than chemotherapy, so it causes less stress to healthy cells. 

Immunotherapy Tucson

How is Immunotherapy Administered?

Since immunotherapy works in many different ways, your doctor has several options for administering it. The three most common ways of administering immunotherapy are:

  • Into your vein (IV)
  • Oral
  • On your skin

Each type of immunotherapy has an administration schedule. You may receive treatment daily, weekly, or monthly. The method of administration depends on the treatment and type of cancer. Some treatments must be delivered via an IV, while others can be taken orally for greater convenience. Your doctor at Cochise Oncology will explain how your immunotherapy will be administered and how often you will have treatment. 

How Does Immunotherapy Work?

Immunotherapy works by helping the immune system recognize, identify, and attack cancer cells. The immune system naturally finds and eliminates damaged cells, but cancer cells develop the ability to avoid being targeted. Immunotherapy can work in many ways, including:

  • Using antibodies that attach to cancer cells and draw the immune system’s attention
  • Modifying T cells to make them more active against cancer cells
  • Enhancing overall immune system activity
  • Using a treatment vaccine to teach the immune system to see cancer cells
  • Letting the immune system works more strongly against cancer cells

Tests, including genetic testing, will identify potential weaknesses in cancer cells. Your doctor will design a treatment plan based on these results. Your plan might include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation, or any combination

REQUEST A CONSULTATION

Simply fill out the form on this page to request an appointment and one of our knowledgable team members will reach out to you. Or call our Sierra Vista oncology center to schedule directly at (520) 803-6644.

What are the Side Effects of Immunotherapy?

Side effects of immunotherapy vary by treatment. You might notice that some of the side effects sound like having the flu. Most flu symptoms are actually your immune system’s reaction to the virus. Most immunotherapy side effects result when your immune system is stimulated. They include:

  • Fever
  • Rashes
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Fatigue

Am I a Good Candidate for Immunotherapy?

Only testing can determine whether you are a good candidate for immunotherapy. Not all cancer types respond to this treatment, and not everyone can receive it. If your cancer has not responded to chemotherapy or radiation alone, immunotherapy may be an excellent alternative. 

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Take the Next Step

Do you have questions about immunotherapy? Reach out to Cochise Oncology at (520) 335-9460 or fill out the consultation form on this page.

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