How does immunotherapy
Your immune system is what helps you fight off infections on a daily basis. This natural protection is found in the immune cells, within your bloodstream.
Immunotherapy works by helping your immune system to recognize and attack prostate cancer cells.
One type of immunotherapy is a cancer vaccine which involves giving you back your own immune cells after they have been taken out and changed to target prostate cancer cells. Before treatment, you’ll have a blood sample taken from your body. The immune cells will be filtered out from the blood — then boosted up to fight the cancer cells. Once this process is finished, you’ll be given the stronger immune cells back to your bloodstream through infusion into a vein (IV). The whole process is repeated every 2 weeks for 2 more times so you get 3 doses all up.
It's important to note that immunotherapy has not been shown to stop prostate cancer from growing but it can prolong life by several months.
It does not lead to:
lower PSA levels
the tumor shrinking
slower growth of the cancer
What about side effects?
Different types of immunotherapy will cause different side effects, but some people are exhausted afterwards, or feel like they need to throw up. It’s important to talk to your doctor to understand what you can expect.
Being a good candidate
Immunotherapy is best for men with certain types of advanced prostate cancer, especially if the cancer is not responding to hormone therapy. It’s also best for men who aren’t experiencing any problems or symptoms of prostate cancer. Immunotherapy may also be given alongside other treatments if your doctor thinks it’s a good option.
Questions to ask your doctor or care team
What are the side effects with immunotherapy?
What are my other treatment options?
How will immunotherapy impact my quality of life?
How will immunotherapy impact my cancer?