Immunotherapy Treatment for Cancer


Immunotherapy; a New Treatment Option for Lung Cancer and Melanoma



It took me a while to put this together and finally talk about it. My aunt passed away few years ago due to breast cancer. When she knew it, she was at the 3rd stage already. WHY must it be her? WHY so unfair? WHY did we fail to detect it earlier? They told us to be strong… you know it is easy to say but really hard to be. We did whatever we could, she was strong but not me. At last, we lost her. Continue to read if you want to know about immunotherapy, a new treatment option for lung cancer and melanoma.

Immunotherapy; a New Treatment Option for Lung Cancer and Melanoma
Immunotherapy; a New Treatment Option for Lung Cancer and Melanoma


Ever since she passed away, my family and I began to take more initiative to get to know about cancer, lead a healthier lifestyle and attend regular health check-ups. Always remember that early detection saves lives. Don’t take life for granted and prevention is better than cure.

Immunotherapy; a New Treatment Option for Lung Cancer and Melanoma
At the Lung Cancer & Melanoma Workshop

After attending the Lung Cancer & Melanoma Workshop by MSD and an insightful presentation by Dr Tho Lye Mun, Clinical Oncologist; I learnt that 15% to 20% of the population in Malaysia is at risk of getting cancer, which is about 1 out of 5. Guess what??? Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world and kills more people than breast, colon and prostate cancer. 10 Malaysians die of lung cancer daily, and 9 out of 10 lung cancer patients are diagnosed at an advanced stage. That’s scary!

Immunotherapy; a New Treatment Option for Lung Cancer and Melanoma
The Lung Cancer & Melanoma Workshop organized by MSD Malaysia

Lung Cancer: Types, Causes and Symptoms
First and foremost, let’s get to know lung cancer. There are two main types of lung cancer; non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer and about 85% of lung cancers are NSCLC.
Smoking is the main cause of lung cancer and is the reason for at least 80% of lung cancer deaths. Second hand smoke, air pollution and family history of lung cancer are also risk factors. Usually the symptoms experienced are chest pain, persistent cough, shortness of breath, lethargy and weight loss with no causes.

Melanoma: Causes and Symptoms
Are you aware that over exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays is a major factor for melanoma, which is the most serious form of skin cancer? It begins in the skin’s pigment-producing cells (melanocytes). Melanoma can also develop on other parts of the body, including the eyes, digestive tract, nails, and mouth. 

Immunotherapy; a New Treatment Option for Lung Cancer and Melanoma
Dr Tho Lye Mun, Consultant Clinical Oncologist sharing insights on both lung cancer and melanoma with us

Cancer Treatment Options
The treatment options are crucial when a person is diagnosed with cancer. According to Dr Tho, there are a few types of treatment one can choose from such as surgery, radiation therapy or radiosurgery, chemotherapy, targeted agents and immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy; a New Treatment Option for Lung Cancer and Melanoma
What is Immunotherapy? As we know, many diseases can attack our health when our immune system is weak. Therefore, immunotherapy is a treatment method that uses certain parts of a person’s immune system to fight diseases such as cancer. This treatment has become an important part of treating cancer and holds a greater potential to fight cancer than the conventional treatment.

How does immunotherapy work? Immunotherapy is an entirely different way of treating cancer. It works by targeting the immune system, not the tumor itself. The main types of immuno-oncology therapy include:

(a) Monoclonal antibodies: These are man-­made versions of immune system proteins; antibodies can be designed to attack a very specific part of a cancer cell.

(b) Cancer vaccines: Substances introduced into the body to cause an immune response against certain diseases.

(c) Non-specific immunotherapies: Treatments that boost the immune system in a general way, which can help the immune system attack cancer cells.

Immunotherapy; a New Treatment Option for Lung Cancer and Melanoma
Getting to know about Immunotherapy; a New Treatment for Lung Cancer and Melanoma 

What are the benefits of immunotherapy? Here are some of the benefits of immunotherapy treatment. The most important factor is there is a greater potential of increasing long-term survival of cancer patients with fewer side effects plus durable responses. The side effects of immunotherapy are flu-like symptoms, fatigue, rashes, fever and drop in blood pressure compared to other conventional cancer treatments that are more acute.

Overall, immunotherapy is a new way to fight cancer with greater potential while reducing the patient’s severe symptoms. This helps improve the quality of life of cancer patients. Thanks to MSD for organizing such an informative workshop about lung cancer, melanoma and immunotherapy. 

Immunotherapy; a New Treatment Option for Lung Cancer and Melanoma
Group Photo: Lung Cancer & Melanoma Workshop

Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world and 10 Malaysians die of lung cancer daily. I’d like to urge you to please stop smoking and avoid being exposed to second hand smoke because it can cause lung cancer too. Early detection saves lives and prevention is better than cure. So, remember to go for your regular health check-up and lead a healthy lifestyle. 

18 comments:

  1. My sis pass away early this year on February after suffering for final stage of cancer too. She was only 29 years old. I wish to convince her for the check up earlier. So sad. :(

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  2. This is a very informative blog, especially for people who are fighting cancer. Thank you for sharing

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  3. 67% of people will be diagnosed with Critical Illness before they passed away! and that is a statistic by WHO for Malaysia!

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  4. my brother died from brain cancer..but that time this treatment did not used to treat him. is this new technology..?

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  5. very informative workshop you attended, at least you are now aware of the signs!

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  6. Never take life for granted. And sorry for your lost.

    xx
    Puiyeesss

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  7. Thanks for the great tips, wish they had this earlier cause one of my beloved passed away from this horrible cancer.

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  8. Preventive is really way better than trying to find a cure. The immune system is really part of our defense system so there is no harm in trying this out if you have a significant family history.

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  9. My mom had breast cancer a fer years ago but is now in recovery now. It's nice to be aware of the ways of prevention and cure for the Big C.

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  10. A tough subject indeed and very personal, ones support group need to be so strong to keep you up during the downs. Thanx for the interesting read and your personal sharing.

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  11. It's difficult to find a family that has not been touched by cancer at all. It is so prevalent that it is scary. When will we get a cure for all types of cancer?

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  12. My aunt also died of cancer. Good to know about this.

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  13. My MIL passed due to lunch cancer. She was healthy, never smoked, and an easygoing lady. It's so invasive and aggressive of an illness. Thanks for all this info for those who hopefully never have to go through that.

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  14. This is an interesting topic and he should better know about taking care of ourselves even more. I will check more about this therapy.

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  15. My condolences for the loss of your aunt! Cancer is indeed very difficult. My close friend lost her mom to breast cancer. Hope immunotherapy works well so we don't lose more loved ones!

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  16. It must have hurt to be sharing a topic like this. But all the same, I'm thankful that you are letting more people know about this treatment and not have people lose hope!

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  17. I have like a cancer history running in my family, not my parent but my dad's sister. I really hope that I was healthy.

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  18. Good information. I just really hope soon this cancer will just be like a cough and flu where you can just take medicine and you'll be fine after some days.

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