Immunotherapy May Offer Hope for Advanced Skin Cancer Patients
Enticing the body to fight cancer all on its own is the primary idea behind immunotherapy. This course of treatment has made great strides in recent years with a number of studies and products showing a great deal of potential for treating a diversity of cancers. A relatively new breakthrough on this front may someday soon offer hope to those with advanced skin cancer.
The new protocol under study involves a combination of immunotherapy options that are showing strong signs of helping people survive longer while lowering the risk of life-threatening events. The therapy is designed to assist patients with cutaneous melanoma, which is considered one of the most aggressive and deadly forms of skin cancer. Melanoma accounts for only about 1 percent of all skin cancer cases, but it is responsible for the majority of skin cancer deaths. Although highly treatable with surgery in its earliest stages, many patients are diagnosed only after the disease has progressed.
The combination therapy is designed to help those with specific gene mutations more successfully battle this form of cancer. It works by using more than one type of immunotherapy medication to encourage the body’s immune system into recognizing cancer cells as invaders. As a result, the immune system attacks these cells without damaging healthy tissue.
The new combination treatment remains very much under study. While small-scale clinical trials have been staged, long-term studies are still needed. It is unclear if or how soon the option might be made more readily available.
With skin cancer accounting for thousands of new cancer cases across America each year, everyone is encouraged to talk to their healthcare providers about their personal risks. Undergoing routine screening during annual checkups can lead to the early detection and successful treatment of a variety of skin cancers. Preventing skin cancer by lowering exposure to sunlight and avoiding sunburns can also be especially helpful.