This particular treatment helps patients fight melanoma by enabling their own antibodies to attack cancer cells.
“When immunotherapy came on the market it was such an exciting time for everyone involved in the care of melanoma, the main reason being is it went from this scary unmanageable cancer with no treatments to one that could potentially have a long lasting result with patients absolutely never having to worry about their melanoma,” explains Dr. Cecilia Larocca, a dermatologist at Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
Immunotherapy is a medicine that helps a patient’s immune system wake up, search for and then attack melanoma cells, whether microscopic or in the form of large or bulky tumors. While it was first created with stage four patients in mind, studies have been done to see how it will work for stage three patients who have a 50/50 chance of it coming back.
The goal is to keep steadily reducing the chance of recurrence in all patients.
The development of immunotherapy for melanoma was a major breakthrough. But like any treatment option, risks and benefits should be considered. Immunotherapy has been know to cause severe side effects.
Immunotherapy for melanoma does often work well–but the side effects do need to be considered.
Immunotherapy Helps Your Body Help Itself
Immunotherapy for Melanoma Can Work, but Side Effects are a Risk
Side Effects from Immunotherapy Can be Managed
Immunotherapy Needs to be Tailored
A Melanoma Vaccine for Metastatic Patients
Radiation is Effective for Certain Metastatic Melanoma Patients