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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

One of the most exciting developing treatment options for cancer patients is immunotherapy. Because cancer cells are generated from our own cells, our immune system often has trouble discerning them from healthy cells. Immuno-oncology addresses this problem head-on, either by boosting the immune system generally to help it fight off cancer cells or by enabling the immune system to better distinguish cancer cells from healthy cells. To learn more about immunotherapy, go to our website where we have in-depth guides and videos to help you determine if immunotherapy may be a good choice for you.

Because immunotherapy is still a young field of discovery, it is largely accessible only through clinical trials; although, there are currently several treatments that have been FDA-approved for certain indications. Clinical trials are an important option at every point in the cancer journey, from diagnosis to treatment to recovery. That’s why we have a number of resources on our website designed to help dispel the myths about clinical trials and explain the advantage of participation.

There are some side effects to immunotherapy that are generally different from those caused by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Sometimes, immunotherapy side effects are not severe or may be short lived. But for others, they can be severe and even life threatening. So far, the most common side effects include flu-like symptoms, fever, rashes, and fatigue. It is always a good idea to get as much information as you can and to talk to your doctor about any possible side effects for any type of cancer treatment.

In addition to many educational materials, CSC also provides services to help people interested in clinical trials. This includes our Clinical Trials Matching Service and Open to Options, which helps prepare patients and caregivers to discuss treatment options, including clinical trials, with their medical team.

We encourage you to explore our resources on immunotherapy and clinical trials if you have the time. Whether or not you end up using them right now, it’s always valuable to have as much information at your disposal as possible.