When you were diagnosed with lung cancer, you may have felt like your whole world stopped turning. The good news is that today many advanced treatment options are available for you to fight lung cancer and live for many years longer. Learn more about immunotherapy for lung cancer and whether it could be a treatment option for you.
Immunotherapy: Alerting The Body's Own Defense Mechanisms
Immunotherapy consists of several treatment options for various forms of lung cancer, each one being specific to certain types of cancer cells. Cancer cells are different from your body's normal, healthy cells because they turn on the immune system and they do not die in the normal manner. Cancer cells have the ability to divide rapidly and can rapidly mutate, invading your body's immune system. In immunotherapy treatment, specially designed drugs are used to tip off the immune system to cancer cells, telling it they are a threat, so your immune system attacks the cancer cells. In some cases, cancer cells are destroyed by the body's immune system, thus giving patients greater chances at beating cancer and surviving. Right now, three types of lung cancer have been successfully treated usually immunotherapy drugs, including:
Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC)
Mesothelioma of the lung
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
If you have been diagnosed with any of these three forms of lung cancer, discussing with your oncologist about your options for immunotherapy is a good idea. Remember that the earliest treatment gives you better chances at longer survival, so do not wait to visit your doctor about this type of treatment for lung cancer.
The Reason Your Immune System Does Not Fight Cancer Cells Without Immunotherapy
Cancer cells are sneaky and get by the immune system because they are your body's own cells. The difference with cancer cells is they have mutated and no longer perform the functions they originally did as healthy cells. For example, in lung cancer, mutated cancer cells no longer perform like healthy lung cells. Since the immune system does not consider these mutated lung cells as being invaders, the cancer cells continue to divide and become stronger and bigger, the reason large tumors can grow out of control in the lungs. When immunotherapy drugs are introduced to your system, they work to tell your immune system the abnormal cancer cells are the bad guys, starting a war between your immune system and the cancer cells.
Fighting cancer is tough and can be challenging because of the side effects of traditional treatments like chemotherapy. Find out now if you are a candidate for the latest immunotherapy treatment for lung cancer by meeting with experts like those at Missouri Cancer Associates.Share
8 April 2016
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