Immunotherapy for melanoma is not without risks. The severity of the side effects depends on whether you’re being treated with one medicine or a combination of two medicines, says Dr. Anna Pavlick, medical oncologist at Weill Cornell Medicine.
You have about a 10 to 15 percent chance of developing side effects such as severe rash or severe diarrhea from a single-agent immunotherapy drug. If you have metastatic disease, you may be offered two medicines, which increases the risk of developing side effects to about 50 percent.
Side Effects of Immunotherapy for MelanomaRead More
Common Immunotherapy side effects include:
- Nausea or stomach discomfort
- Joint pain
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in blood cell counts
Severe side effects including allergic reaction are possible. It’s important to talk to your doctor about any symptoms you experience while on immunotherapy. In some cases, the medication may need to be stopped.
It’s important to be aware of the potential side effects of immunotherapy before starting treatment. If you’re taking combination therapy, the risk of developing side effects is much higher. However, the benefits of treatment may be greater as well.