For those who may have missed it, two scientists were recently awarded the Nobel Prize for their work with a new form of cancer treatment, called immunotherapy. Using a completely different approach than chemotherapy, immunotherapy is quickly taking over as a cancer treatment. With this in mind, it is important to understand what immunotherapy is, and how it can help kill cancer for long-term success.

What Is Chemotherapy?
As many people already know, chemotherapy is a treatment used for cancer treatment that involves chemical substances that aims to kill the cancerous cells. Because of the strength that is needed for the chemotherapy to kill the cancer cells, the treatment typically kills off healthy cells as well. As a result, the side effects of chemotherapy can be extreme at times, with side effects including nausea and pain.

What Is Immunotherapy?
Unlike chemotherapy, immunotherapy makes use of the body’s defense systems, or the immune system, to tackle the cancerous cells. In general, immunotherapy is a cancer treatment that specifically uses the body’s natural defense mechanisms by creating substances that can help improve or restore immune system function. What makes immunotherapy such a unique and fascinating medication is its ability to promote the immunes system defense, making the treatment less severe on the body.

What Does Immunotherapy Work To Do?
The uses of immunotherapy can help a patient in a variety of ways. First, it works to stop or slow the progression of cancer cells. Following a diagnosis, immunotherapy can help slow its growth, giving doctors more time to determine the best course of action. Additionally, immunotherapy can work to stop the cancer from spreading to other parts of a patient’s body. This is extremely important, as the likelihood of beating cancer continues to decrease as it spreads to different organs within the body. Lastly, it works with your natural immune system to help promote its functions. Essentially, immunotherapy helps the immune system to destroy the cancerous cells before they begin to grow out of control.

Moving Forward
Because of the incredible way that immunotherapy works with the body’s immune system, its need will only continue to increase. While chemotherapy will still be used quite often, the option for immunotherapy could quickly overtake chemotherapy as the treatment choice for both doctors and patients alike. Having a strong understanding of immunotherapy can be incredibly helpful in the future.