Category Archives: Cancer

pensive

Through the Eyes of Survivors: The Truth About Beating Cervical Cancer

Life after a cervical cancer diagnosis is never the same—even after remission. It can be better, more meaningful, challenging, stressful, and different. But if you are standing on greener grass, meaning you are a caregiver, wife, husband, child or friend, there are a few things you need to know.

Babies and bundles of joy are sensitive topics.

The choice of whether or not have children is a delicate issue for women. Sadly, as cervical cancer survivors, most of us don’t have a decision to make. After enduring conventional treatment for cervical cancer, we may not be able to conceive because of one or more reasons, including:

  • getting surgery to remove the womb (a radical hysterectomy)
  • undergoing radiotherapy, which affects the uterus and may stop the ovaries from functioning
  • ingesting chemotherapy drugs that may lead to early menopause

Finding out we may no longer get pregnant can be distressing. As our friend or family member, we will need your help and unconditional support.

We want to enjoy good food, too.

As cancer survivors, we must eat nutritiously to boost our immune system against cervical cancer recurrence and other diseases. And depending on where we are with treatment, we may have stringent dietary restrictions. However, “healthy” isn’t always equals “bland and tasteless.” Support us in our search for the best food choices possible. Eat healthy and delicious with us by cooking homemade dishes and picking good restaurants.

We can sometimes be extra emotional, tired, and sick.

There will be days when we have an abundance of energy. We might want to go for a walk or do something exciting. Unfortunately, our immune system is not at 100 percent, meaning we may catch every virus out in the world.

Also, some cancer treatments and maintenance drugs, including cancer itself, can activate the immune system to release inflammatory cytokines. Inflammatory cytokines can infiltrate the brain and affect the circuits and chemicals associated with depression, anxiety, fear, fatigue, and impairment in concentration and memory.

If we suddenly don’t feel like going to the mall or park, helping clean around the house, or even sit up for too long, it’s because our body isn’t functioning at its former capacity.

We appreciate it when you lend us a hand, even if we never ask for it.

Many of us cancer survivors have a hard time asking for help, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need it. If you want to tend the garden, do a bit of cleaning around the house, cook or bring a tasty dinner (ask about food restrictions first), or drive us to our next doctor’s appointment—you have our sincerest gratitude.

When we spend too many days indoors, get us out. Help us live to the fullest.

A cervical cancer diagnosis, especially surviving it, is a life-changing experience. It’s easy to become sedentary and feel afraid of the outside world’s potential cancer triggers. If you know someone who isolates themselves and finds refuge in their home, do your best to get them outside. Do something fun and rekindle their love for life.

Consider Your Options

The majority of people believe that alternative or mainstream medicine is the only option they have to treat cervical cancer symptoms and side effects. But there are many safe complementary treatments you can use, right along with your medical treatment. Read our articles on alternative medicine to learn more.

Sources:

https://www.chatelaine.com/health/truth-about-surviving-cervical-cancer-in-your-20s/

https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cervical-cancer/living-with/fertility



hospital ward

Facts About Chemo

hospital ward

Just hearing the word “chemo” scares the heck out of most of us after what we’ve either seen in movies or on TV and what we’ve been told by our loved ones that have endured the treatments of chemo. Oh! I must also include how it seems the oncologist frightens us by using the fear tactics.  If this is what anyone is facing, it can be very hard and have side effects, but some things of what certain people have been through with chemo might surprise you.

Camille Noe Pagan has listed some of the things.

  • Marisa C. Weiss, MD, and author of Living Well Beyond Breast Cancer reveals that one of the biggest things patients complain about is how many people share cancer “horror stories” with them while they are in the middle of treatment. She suggested thanking them for caring, but let them know you do not want to hear stories about other people and their experiences right then.
  • Dana Kuznetzkoff, a New York film, and TV producer was treated for lymphoma in 2010 and suggested that you talk with the nurses, as they are the ones who will tell you exactly what you need to know.  She suggests also that you should listen to other people who’ve been there or who are involved in your care.
  • Most realize they will lose their hair but quite often they are not told their nails might fall off as well. It is important to know just what reactions might be possible when taking chemo. There are many types and the side effects depend on what kind you get and how your body reacts to it.  Common effects are hair loss and nausea, but not everyone has that happen. There might also be trouble with memory and concentration, feeling dizzy or having pain and numbness during or after chemo.  These are not usually talked about.
  • You are a person with a full life and not just a cancer patient, so even those little daily routines can give you comfort as an anchor when cancer rocks your world.  Be realistic about it though and keep flexible. Working during treatment is fine as long as you feel well enough, but take the time off following a treatment or when you most experience negative effects.  Most want to make their own decisions and take care of themselves. If they enjoy working, then they should continue as often as they feel capable. Speaking with a counselor for support can help.
  • Feeling depressed when chemo’s finally over is a normal feeling. Friends and family may want to celebrate the end of your treatment because they don’t realize you may feel blue, anxious, let down or even scared.  When you are done with treatment, everything and everyone goes back to normal and you are still experiencing mental and physical side effects, so you still need that support.  Counseling, support groups, exercise and taking time for yourself can help you feel better and ease back into your post-treatment life.

An alternative treatment is usually without extreme side effects, so checking that out is another option for those facing chemo.

Dr Fredda Branyon

cancer mortality dropped

Cancer Mortality Dropping

cancer mortality dropped

According to the latest Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, with the exception of two forms, the 5-year survival rates for almost all cancer types have increased significantly. Ana Sandoiu has posted the findings of this document.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) who are both part of the Department of Health and Human Services, together with the American Cancer Society and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) have collaborated to create the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer.

Information is offered in this document on the incidence and mortality trends currently in the United States.  The previous report was published in March of 2016 where data was gathered between 1975 and 2012 that revealed an increase in the incidence of liver cancer.  The Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the latest report on clinical data collected between 1975 and 2014 that shows a significant decrease in the number of deaths caused by nearly all types of cancer with the exception of only two.

Ahmedin Jemal, Ph.D., of the American Cancer Society led the study in which he also looked at survival rates as a way of evaluating the progress made in the fight against cancer.  Trends in death rates are the most commonly used measure to assess progress against cancer, according to Jemal, and survival trends are also an important measure to evaluate progress in the improvement of cancer outcomes.

Comparing the 5-year survival rates for cancers diagnosed from 1975 to 1977 to those diagnosed between 2006 and 2012, the findings revealed a marked increase in 5-year survival rates during the latter period.  Only cervical and uterine cancers were the exceptions.

Leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, myeloma, prostate, and kidney cancers had the largest increase in survival rates. These forms of cancer had survival rates that had increased by 25% or more. Thyroid cancer, melanoma and breast cancer in women also were also among the greatest survival rates.

Those that were diagnosed between 2006 and 2012 with the lowest survival rates were cancer of the pancreas, liver, stomach, esophagus, and brain. A special section on cancer survival in 2004 revealed the survival improved over time for almost all cancers at every stage of diagnosis, but survival remains very low for some types of cancer and for most types that are diagnosed at an advanced stage.

These reports can be seen as encouraging, but the need for more preventive measure and resources for identifying risk factors that could help to stave off cancer are needed. The report also found that tobacco-related cancers have low survival rates, which underscore the importance of continuing to do what we know works to significantly reduce tobacco use. We also need to support communities and families in prevention approaches that can help reverse the nation’s obesity epidemic.

This overall cancer death rate in the U.S. is welcome news, reflecting improvements in prevention, early detection, and treatment, but it also shows us that progress has been limited for several cancers and should gain our commitment in efforts to discover new strategies for prevention, early detection, and treatment, and to apply interventions broadly and equitably. I have to add my own opinion though, I wonder what is “fake news” and what is not.

Dr Fredda Branyon

eyebrows

Who Stole My Eyebrows After Cancer?

eyebrows

Most of us hate plucking our eyebrows but just think how much those sweet women receiving chemo would give to have their back!  Sometimes we take things for granted, including our eyebrows. Sometimes the following chemo the eyebrows don’t grow back the same as before. No matter who we are, most of us never feel we look great and sometimes when we get down on our selves, it’s hard to get our attitude back in shape. That’s why I tell our patients, weigh out your options, and do what builds you up. That helps the immune system to heal more than we realize.

Here are some solutions to help with eyebrows not growing back

1. Microblading

This is a cross between tattooing and hair extensions and also known as eyebrow embroidery or feathering/etching.  The artist uses a special micro blading pen and draws on what looks like individual hairs with a special tattoo pen. The pigment is deposited closer to the source of the skin than in a conventional tattoo. To learn more about these procedures, search the Internet for micro blading.  It can be quite expensive and takes two to three hours, depending on the salon, but requires a touch up only once a year. Be sure the specialist you choose has experience and knows what they are doing.

2. Permanent makeup

There are salons that specialize in permanent makeup tattoos, eyebrows, eyeliner, etc.  Be sure to check out the artist or salon as there can be a risk of infection with these procedures. Then you’ll end up paying for a cosmetic surgeon!

3. Eyebrow extensions

The individual hairs are dipped into special glue by the specialists and then they are attached, one by one, to your eyebrow area.  This procedure takes two to three weeks and you must avoid touching your brows or rubbing them when washing your face. Also, do not immerse your head in the water.  This is also an expensive procedure. Again, more information on this procedure can be found on the Internet.

The last and least expensive option is to just get better with applying your makeup.  So there are definitely several options and you don’t have to walk around without those eyebrows anymore!

Each woman needs to decide what her priorities are. Do a little due diligence and decide just what is right for you.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Lemons

Vitamin C Adjunct to Cancer Treatment

One of the most well established antioxidants known is vitamin C and it’s health benefits have been demonstrated over time for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. It has also been shown through research that vitamin C is cytotoxic to cancer cells when administered by IV in high doses, and has a number of heart and cardiovascular benefits. It the opinion of many, it is a very useful supplement that should be included as a part of most cancer treatment protocols.

You need to have a very high concentration of vitamin C in your blood in order to effectively kill cancer cells. The only way to obtain these extreme levels is through IV administration. Bypassing the digestive tract with IV administration results in blood levels up to 500 times higher than what you can achieve through the oral route. The mechanism behind vitamin C’s ability to target cancer cells has to do with the generation of hydrogen peroxide, which is what actually kills the cancer cells. The vitamin C breaks down easily.

Vitamin C has other benefits for cancer by lowering inflammation in your body. It helps lower pro-inflammatory cytokines and C-reactive protein that correlate with a reduction in tumor size. A 15-year-long research project called RECNAC (cancer spelled backwards) was completed by Riordan, which showed vitamin C was selectively cytotoxic against cancer cells. Further research has been done by scientists at the Lewis Cantley of Weill Cornel Medicine in New York that found high doses of vitamin C helps kill and eliminate colorectal cancer cells with certain genetic mutations. Even further studies have shown the high-dose vitamin C can help slow the growth of prostate, pancreatic, liver and colon cancer cells.

Vitamin C is best known for its ability to combat infectious disease, which is highlighted in Dr. Thomas Levy’s book, “Curing the Incurable.” In combination with thiamine (B1), vitamin C and hydrocortisone have also been shown to be helpful in the treatment of severe sepsis and septic shock. Your heart, blood vessels, lungs and eyes also receive benefits from vitamin C. This vitamin can help in the following ways:

  • Decrease risk of post-operative atrial fibrillation after heart surgery, thereby
    reducing the risk of stroke and heart failure.
  • Reduce high blood pressure by protecting your body’s supply of nitric oxide.
  • Reduce your risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among smokers.
  • Prevent heart attacks, by reducing inflammation.
  • Protects your vision by improving the function of your retinal cells and reduces
    your risk for cataracts by fighting oxidative stress.

It is important to get your glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase ( G-6 PD) checks beforehand. This is an enzyme in your red blood cells that need to maintain membrane integrity. If you are a G-6 PD person, high dose Vitamin C can be very dangerous and can even cause death.

The suggested dosage for vitamin C is between 25 to 75 grams intravenously which is 300X the normal amount of vitamin C you’d get from eating a healthy diet. We all need 300 to 400 mg/dl to achieve selective cytotoxicity against cancer cells. Eat a balance diet rich in vitamin C with varied whole foods to avoid causing a nutritional imbalance.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Pink Ribbon

Why Some Cancer Drugs Stop Working

A type of breast cancer drug stops working in some patients and the reason has been discovered by some scientists. An international team led by Imperial College London and the European Institute of Oncology in Milan reveal some breast tumors evolve to make their own fuel supply that renders treatments powerless.

The findings from this team are published in the journal Nature Genetics. They hope that their work will increase treatment options for patients whose cancer has returned. This is the most common cancer in the U.K. and causes 55,200 new cases every year. The so-called ER-positive breast cancers account for about 70% of all breast cancers. These cancer cells contain a receptor for the hormone estrogen and this hormone is what fuels the tumors.

This type of cancer offers one of two drugs to these patients after surgery to prevent the cancer from coming back. One drug, tamoxifen, prevents the estrogen from binding to DNA in cancer cells while the second type called aromatase inhibitors prevents residual estrogen from being produced in other tissues. This last drug is usually used in those who have gone through the menopause. The ovaries of these women have stopped producing estrogen, but some hormone is still made in several other tissues by an enzyme called aromatase. The enzyme is prevented in making estrogen by this medication.

These two inhibitors stop working in about 1 in 3 patients. It is assumed by the scientists that the tumors developed resistance in some way, but didn’t really know how. It was discovered, however, that in the latest study one in four patients taking aromatase inhibitors were showing the tumors had an increased production of this inhibitor in the cancer cells. They do this by increasing the number of aromatase genes in a process called amplification.

The cancer cells will be allowed to effectively make their own estrogen without relying on external sources of the hormone, as explained by Dr. Luca Magnani, co-lead author of the research from the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial. This is the first time they have seen how the breast cancer tumors become resistant to aromatase inhibitors. By cutting off the tumors fuel supply (estrogen) the cancer adapts to this by making its own fuel supply. The tumors also become resistant in different ways, depending on whether tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors are used.

They are currently working on a test to identify if a patient’s tumor has started to increase aromatase production, and make its own estrogen. When an aromatase inhibitor stops working for a patient the doctors will then try another type of aromatase inhibitor. Research shows that if the patient’s cancer has started to make their own aromatase, the second drug would be useless and that is why a test to identify these patients is needed. It is suggested that doctors take a second sample of the tumor when the cancer returns. Currently, a patient can only have one biopsy when first diagnosed, but if they had a second biopsy when the cancer returns, this would give vital information about how the cancer has evolved and the treatment options that are available. Once a cancer spreads, the disease is incurable.

This work was funded by an Imperial College Junior Research Fellowship, Cancer Research UK and AIRC.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Girl Wearing a Hat

Hats for Cancer Patients

I recently saw a report on the media about the availability of hats that can be used for cancer patients. I searched for information on this subject as I think this is an innovative idea that will make life easier for that woman having to deal with her cancer and hair loss. Why should losing the hair be another issue at a time like this?

There are stores, catalogs and websites that now specialize in hats, caps and turbans for people that are experiencing hair loss caused from their cancer treatment. You don’t have to spend a lot of money for specialized head coverings, as any type of hat can work for you. Spice it up and choose something fashionable that makes you feel better.

When you are selecting the hat, be aware that it should be deep and will fit down over your head. Many men’s-style of hats and 1920’s make a statement and will work well. Avoid those that you can see through and will give little protection from the sun and won’t mask your hair loss as well.

Where will you be wearing the hat? A wide-brimmed hat is fun for outdoor use and does a really great job of shading those UV rays, also blocks overhead lighting at the office but might be rather awkward in crowded spaces like elevators, trains and restaurants. This type might also be difficult to wear while driving when it hits the back of your seat.

Those adjustable baseball caps are popular and you can find a really wide variety and choose a nice, casual look. Some of them expose part of your scalp so use that sunscreen if this is the type you choose. There is a wide variety of hats available through the American Cancer Society’s TLC catalog. The turban is made of soft stretch fabrics that come in a comfortable and wide range of colors. There are public service programs for women with cancer that will teach various beauty techniques and will show you how to make quick and easy turbans out of t-shirts. Spice that turban up with a broach, but don’t venture into “Madam Zorba the Fortune-Teller” area! You can even give a little extra height to the hair underneath by adding a shoulder pad or two.

Just be sure your choice of hat fits snuggly but not restrictive where you might get a headache. You can add a layer of foam to the inside of a loose-fitting hat to tighten it. If the hat has an inner hatband, slip the padding between the hat and band or buy the foam that has an adhesive backing and attach it directly to the hat. The elasticized inner bands that adjust to the size of your head can usually be found at camping and travel stores.

You will need to wear a wig cap, sleeping cap or scarf underneath to protect your scalp from irritation unless the hat is made of extremely soft material. Retailers and many stores online often offer sleep caps and wig caps. If you choose to use a scarf, be sure to use a cotton scarf and not silk, as it will be too slippery. Just remember that bald can be beautiful, too!

Dr Fredda Branyon

Cancer Cells

IFT20 Protein & Cancer Cells

It has been discovered by an international research team that the IFT20 protein helps some cancer cells to invade by facilitating the transportation of membranes and proteins within parts of the cell. Most human cells have cilia on the surface, acting as cell antenna that receives information from outside the cell. The protein IFT20 is present in most human cells and plays an essential role in the formation and functions of these primary cilia. It acts as a cargo adaptor in healthy cells to transport proteins along microtubules within cilia but many of these cells lose cilia when they become cancerous. For the first time light is being shed from research on the function of IFT20 in non-ciliated cancer cells. That has brought to light that this discovery has potential applications for developing new cancer treatment methods that block invasive cancer cells by targeting the IFT20. The Scientific Reports published the findings online.

An international team including Associate Professor NISHITA Michiru, Professor MINAMI Yasuhiro, Professor Victor W. Hsu and Professor Gregory J. Pazour carried out the research. These professors are affiliated with Kobe University, Harvard Medical School and University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Cell invasion causes most cancer-related deaths and the spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body. Scientists are searching for mechanisms that control the invasive properties of cancer cells to counter this.

It was already known that a cell membrane protein known as Ror2 expresses highly in various cancer cells and promotes cancer cell invasion and metastasis. Various kinds of non-ciliated cancer cells were investigated by the team, and discovered that Ror2 promoted cancer cell invasiveness by inducing the expression of IFT20.

Many tumor cells are able to break through the barrier of the extracellular matrix and infiltrate their surroundings. It was demonstrated that in tumor cells IFT20 induces the Golgi complex to form microtubules by promoting interaction between the Golgi proteins GM130 and AKAP450. They state that this research has clarified a new molecular mechanism related to the formation of Golgi-derived microtubules, and its important role in invasive cancer cells.

It is still unclear about the relationship between loss of cilia and a cell’s cancerous properties. In non-ciliated cancer cells it is clear that IFT20 is responsible for the formation of invadopodia. The line of analyzing the relationship between IFT20 and the loss of cilia could help to shed light on the fundamental question of why many cancer cells lack cilia. If the specific regulatory mechanism of IFT20 in cancer cells is revealed, this could be used to develop treatment that targets IFT20 to block invasive cancer cells.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Leather Goods

Dangers Lurking in Leather

 

Leather Goods

Those enticing handbags, jackets, sofas and armchairs we view as we walk through the mall are normally made from genuine leather. Every car interior covets the new leather smell we all love. But, where is it that this leather comes from? Of course, we know most are from pigs, cows, snakes, buffalo, kangaroos and even some from fish and ostriches. Leather products are sought after and the global market for the plethora of leather applications is gargantuan. A digital publication of the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, estimates the leather industry to be around $200 billion annually. Footwear is the largest seller and worth about $47 billion while gloves come in next at $12.3 billion. But did we ever think about the negative impact these products might have on our health?

Leather tanning is a big industry business in Bangladesh. About 90% of the country’s leather was tanned in Hazaribagh in 2015 and 2016 to the tune of about $1.5 billion in leather and leather goods. These tanneries have dumped about 5.8 million gallons of untreated liquid waste into the Buriganga River that included scraps of hide, flesh, surfectants, chromium III and ammonium sulphate. This river was once the main source of drinking water and has become so polluted now that it is widely regarded as unsafe for human consumption.

The chromium has been associated with several negative effects for both human health and the environment as it can easily oxidize to chromium VI that is a suspected carcinogen. This causes acute and chronic damage to the aquatic environment. Chickens are fed tannery scraps as a staple and most people there eat an average of 250 grams of chicken per day and ingest 4X the amounts of chromium deemed healthy.

Human health is adversely affected by tanning toxins and dyes where studies have linked them to nasal, testicular and bladder cancers. These have all been linked by studies to the dyes or solvents used during the leather finishing process. Later lung and pancreatic cancers began to be reported in association with leather dust and tanning.

Most consumers have no way of knowing where the leather in their products come from. Some designers and retailers refuse to purchase from tanneries where human rights are violated because of the age of the workers, conditions and chemicals used for processing. The fashion industry should have a moral responsibility as well as the consumers towards the use of leather products. Even those dog chews that we buy for the pet we love like our children can be toxic. It does keep their teeth strong and some have meat or protein in them, but it is a by-product of the leather industry. Dyes and highly toxic chemicals are used to make these chewy toys and then they are often painted with titanium dioxide to make them a pale, uniform color. Testing might reveal substances like lead, arsenic, mercury and formaldehyde. These can cause digestive issues, including diarrhea and even become a choking hazard or cause dangerous blockages in the esophagus or digestive tract.

Giving up leather as part of our wardrobe is an individual choice, but do consider the environmental issues before making a decision as the process of tanning leather is incredibly toxic. Try turning to vegetable, tree-bark or other natural tanning alternatives. The finished product isn’t as stable or supple as the chemically generated methods, but much safer. Synthetically tanned leather might be another method of choice. Even fabrics as cork, wood, linen, hemp, cotton, bamboo and ultrasuede are good alternatives. The chemical Chromium VI has been labeled a known human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service, the World Health Organization and IARC and has become strictly regulated.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Hospital Equipment

Immunotherapy

Hospital Equipment

Immunotherapy, sometimes called biologic therapy, has been a game changer for many types of cancer. This might actually improve your life and extend your years longer than with other treatments.

With allergies, you might have gotten allergy shots. With each shot they provided a very small amount of the allergen, which was the thing that caused your problems. These shots put your immune system on alert but don’t make you sick. Over some time your doses get bigger and that helps you build a tolerance to the allergen, or causes you to become immune. These shots are a type of immunotherapy. Vaccines for diseases like the measles, mumps and flu are all a type of immunotherapy as well.

In relating to cancer, the disease starts when one cell in your body goes rogue and the researchers are hoping that immunotherapy treatment will harness the power of your body’s natural defenses to fight cancer cells, just as it would with a germ, virus or allergy. Two approaches can be used: one is to tell your system to stage a full-out assault on cancer cells and another is to try to make your defenses stronger. Currently, the researchers are exploring new ways to help your immune system recognize and destroy cancer cells. New Hope Unlimited has been doing Immunotherapy with great success for years without using synthetic drugs.

The Adoptive T-cell immunotherapy is designed to boost your key immune cells. This is where the researchers remove T cells (the white blood cells in your immune system) from your tumor and then figure out which ones are fighting the growth the most. Then they can genetically engineer the genes in those cells to be stronger and return them to your system through an IV. Using this approach shows a lot of promise in the treatment of many types of cancer.

Cancer vaccines work like many others and fall into two groups. Preventive vaccines have a lot in common with tradition types and work with a substance called an antigen that gives your immune system a nudge. The preventive cancer vaccine is used against the human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes cervical, anal and other types of cancer. Treatment vaccines help your T cells pick out and destroy specific cancers.

Checkpoint inhibitors work with the cancer cells that hide from your defense, almost disguising themselves as normal cells. These drugs will help your immune system see the cancer as a problem and then fight it. The inhibitors are in clinical trials for many cancers and some people with metastatic melanoma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma are being treated with them.

Monoclonal antibodies are molecules that are made in a lab. They are designed to act the same way as your own antibodies, which are part of your defense against viruses and germs. The immune system can spot things that cause harm, but don’t always see cancer cells as bad. The monoclonal antibodies help to mount an offense as they attach to cancer cells. Like a beacon, they then make those cells more visible to your immune system in order to fight them better. It might also be possible for this to help stop the growth of cancer and help traditional treatments better target the cancer cells.

The researchers are working to find other ways to help your immune system fight cancer and to better understand your defense and how they protect you. How to combine immunotherapy with other treatments to make them work even better is also being investigated along with looking into what happens when you pair two types of immunotherapies. The big question is still, why does this work for one patient but not another? Much more study, and discovery will continue for the sake of those suffering from cancer.

Dr Fredda Branyon