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How Long Does Immunotherapy Take?

Chemotherapy and radiation treatments have been the mainstays of cancer treatment for many years. Immunotherapy is a game-changing treatment that uses your immune system to target cancer. There are many forms of immunotherapy that work in different ways. In general, seeing benefits from these treatments takes some time.

What is Immunotherapy?

Your immune system has natural cancer-fighting tools. Immunotherapy modifies these immune system tools to attack cancer cells. These treatments work in many ways, often by helping your immune system recognize and kill cancer cells. Immunotherapy may be used alone or combined with other treatments, such as radiation or chemotherapy. 

Immunotherapy tucson

How Long Does Immunotherapy Take?

Immunotherapy needs time to change your immune system and make it better at fighting cancer. Most people will experience results after a few months, but the timeline varies widely. Once immunotherapy starts showing results, you may continue to receive treatment for several more weeks or months. Each person’s cancer responds differently to immunotherapy so some people will see results more quickly than others. 

How Does Immunotherapy Treat Cancer?

Immunotherapy can use several different components of your immune system to treat cancer. Each one works against cancer in a unique way, and they must coordinate to achieve the best response. These include:

  • B cells that make antibodies that bind to cancer cells
  • CD8+ killer T cells that attack and kill cancer cells when activated 
  • CD4+ helper T cells that make the immune system more effective
  • Cytokines that convey signals between immune cells to give orders
  • Macrophages that consume and destroy cancer cells
  • Dendritic cells help the immune system recognize cancer

These components of the immune system have the tools needed to fight cancer. Immunotherapy helps by using many different parts of your immune system, depending on which ones are most effective against a specific type of cancer. Cancer cells can develop ways to dodge your immune system, but immunotherapy gives your body the power to fight back. 


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 depending on the type of treatment. The most common symptoms of illnesses like influenza result from the immune system’s reaction to the virus, so immunotherapy symptoms are often similar to a viral infection, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Rashes
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nausea

These side effects are typically, but not always, milder than those from chemotherapy. While chemotherapy attacks all rapidly dividing cells, immunotherapy uses your immune system’s natural cancer-targeting abilities. 

Am I a Good Candidate for Immunotherapy?

Whether you are a good candidate for immunotherapy depends on several factors. These include the type of cancer and the health of your immune system. People with immune system disorders may not be candidates for some types of immunotherapy. Only your Cochise Oncology team can determine if immunotherapy is a good option for you. 



*Individual Results May Vary


At Cochise Oncology, we know optimal cancer treatment places the patient first – and our patients experience this every day. Read what our satisfied patients are saying about their experiences at Cochise Oncology.

Take the Next Step

Do you have questions about immunotherapy? Reach out to Cochise Oncology at (520) 803-6644 or fill out the consultation form on this page.

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