In one way or another, cancer has in some way affected our lives. Cancer is a scary word. It makes hearts stop, and emotions run free when you or a loved is told they have cancer. In 2013, a 29 year old and a 59 year old were both cancer patients; one patient was successful through her immunotherapy, and the other was not fully cured, but on the right path. Immunotherapy is not radiation or chemotherapy, but it is when your own cells are altered and used to help fight against the cancer. People who choose to use immunotherapy as their main therapy to battle cancer choose it because it is made for them and personalizes their way of battling cancer. It also is good for patients who previously had bad side effects from chemo or radiation therapy. In this article, they discuss solid tumors, and in 2011, a new drug called Ipilimumab was used to treat advanced cases of Melanoma (Weintraub, 2016). Chemotherapy is liquid which can treat cancer. It is made up of chemicals that are put into the body to stop the cancer from spreading or to shrink the tumor. Another liquid they talk about in the article is hormone and antibody treatments, which are more consistent for patients. These two therapies replaced William Coley’s approach from 125 years ago which was like immunotherapy, but without all the advances we have now (Weintraub, 2016).
Immunotherapy is the newest way of fighting cancer. With it being the newest way to treat people, it comes with its ups and downs. One of the advantages of this new treatment is that it is good for patients who did not have good experiences with chemotherapy or radiation. Some patients, like the ones we read about in the article, were not getting the results they needed, or it was making them too sick. This new treatment was the answer they were looking for to help fight their cancer more effectively. Although it did not fully cure the one woman, it did help shrink her tumor.
This treatment is still very new, meaning it has some disadvantages. One of these disadvantages is that we do not know all the side effects of the treatment. Each person responds differently to treatments. This treatment could be extremely effective for some people, but maybe not make as much of a difference for someone else. With the treatment being new, we cannot know what the outcomes will be down the road; we don’t know if the persons’ cancer will come back quicker or more aggressive the next time because of this treatment.
Chemotherapy and radiation are the two therapies that come to my mind when someone says cancer therapy. Reading this article about the two people who chose to do immunotherapy over chemo or radiation because they were not getting the results they were expecting showed me how much it could really help them. The one patient was cancer free after her sessions. The other patient was not as successful, but her cancer is not as strong as it was. It was also used with other therapies to shrink the tumors, so there are other factors that go into its effectiveness. This article makes immunotherapy sound like the best way to fight cancer. I believe that immunotherapy is the beginning for finding a cure for cancer. It is a lot different from chemo and radiation since it uses your own cells to fight it, which makes me assume that the body would respond to it better. To me, this advance is a great start for a cure.
There is still no cure for cancer. There are treatments to stop it, but there is no way to be sure that will not come back. Using new advances in medicine is a start to help improve people’s lives who are struggling everyday to fight it. Maybe one day there will be a vaccine to prevent certain types of cancers, but research is far from that happening. Hopefully immunotherapy is the beginning to finding a cure where we can just prevent the disease.
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