Immunotherapy

The

overview

Immunotherapy is an effective treatment for many cancers including mesothelioma. It is now routinely available in the NHS for the first line treatment for some people with mesothelioma.

In addition to routine NHS treatment, immunotherapy may also be available via clinical trials

What is it?

Immunotherapy is a form of treatment that helps the immune system to fight disease including cancer. The immune system is made up of white blood cells, tissues and organs (glands also known as the lymphatic system). Cancer cells have various properties that allow them to hide from the immune system.  

What does it do?

Immunotherapy treatments work in different ways. Some “mark” the cancer cells making it possible for the immune system to find and destroy them. Other forms of immunotherapy work to strengthen the immune system to work more effectively against cancer.  

The benefits of immunotherapy Include: 

  • Using the natural processes of the immune system to fight cancer 
  • A targeted approach that only targets cancer cells in comparison to chemotherapy which damages both healthy and cancerous cells 

How is it given? 

Immunotherapy for mesothelioma is given into a vein (intravenously). How often and how long you receive immunotherapy depends upon: 

  • The immunotherapy drug you are given 
  • How your body reacts to the treatment  
  • Whether the immunotherapy is working effectively 

What are the side-effects? 

As with any treatment, some people will experience side-effects. These can include flu like symptoms such as weakness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, headache, breathlessness and blood pressure problem. The clinical team will monitor for these and more severe side effects.

More information 

More information on immunotherapy is available in our downloadable resources section. 

If you would like to speak to a mesothelioma clinical nurse specialist about any of the information on this page please call our Freephone Support Line on 0800 169 2409 or email support@mesothelioma.uk.com.  

Jump to other treatments for pleural mesothelioma:

Chemotherapy

Surgery

Immunotherapy

Radiotherapy

Multi-disciplinary teams

Clinical trials

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