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Immunotherapy 101: What You Need to Know

Chemotherapy is the first cancer treatment most people think of, and though it remains essential for many patients, its side effects can make their fight against cancer even harder. Now, a new and innovative alternative is rapidly developing. Immunotherapy is helping thousands of people battle cancer with their own immune systems.

What is Immunotherapy?

Cancer immunotherapy is a treatment that strengthens your immune system so it can fight cancer. Sometimes called immuno-oncology, this cutting-edge approach to cancer helps your body boost its natural defense systems.

As cancer cells grow, your body’s immune system will naturally try to attack them. But since cancer cells grow faster than antibodies, it’s an impossible battle. That’s why immunotherapy bolsters the immune system so it’s more able to defend itself. Immunotherapy may be used alone or in combination with other treatments.

Immunotherapy tucson

What Types of Cancer Can Immunotherapy Treat?

Since it enhances your immune system, immunotherapy may treat many types of cancers and can also help protect you from bacterial infections and other illnesses. There are many types of immunotherapy, and only testing can determine if one of them will be effective against a particular patient’s cancer. In general, immunotherapy can treat many types of cancer, including cancer of the kidney, brain, breast, prostate, and more.

How Effective is Immunotherapy?

Research and clinical trials on immunotherapy are ongoing, and this innovative treatment is quickly developing and becoming more effective. So far, the average response rate to immunotherapy drugs is 20-50%. Cochise Oncology has helped many patients with immunotherapy, and we are hopeful this treatment will continue to advance.

What is Immunotherapy Treatment Like?

The advantage of immunotherapy is that it helps your body fight cancer in a more natural way without harming healthy cells. Immunotherapy typically has less severe side effects than chemotherapy or radiation. 

There are multiple types of immunotherapy, and these may be administered through an IV, orally, or topically. The treatment may be daily, weekly, or monthly, and most people are on it for several months. Immunotherapy is often used to boost the immune system before or during another treatment like chemotherapy.

Most side effects of immunotherapy are actually a sign your immune system is working to fight off the cancer cells. Common side effects are similar to flu symptoms, such as:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Rashes


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.

How Long Will Immunotherapy Benefits Last?

For most people, it takes a couple of months of treatment to start feeling the benefits of immunotherapy. These should continue to improve as your immune system gets stronger. While you will experience the best results during and immediately after treatment, immunotherapy can offer long-term or even lifelong results. Some patients may be able to overcome cancer with immunotherapy alone, while others may need additional treatments.


*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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