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Health Information For Parents
Immunotherapy (sometimes called biologic therapy) is a type of treatment that helps a person’s immune system fight cancer. It can stop or slow the growth of cancer cells. It may also help the immune system work better at destroying cancer cells.
Children with cancer may get immunotherapy (im-yuh-know-THER-uh-pee) along with other types of treatment, like chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
The immune system is the body’s defense against infectious organisms (like bacteria and viruses) and other invaders that cause disease. Through a series of steps called the immune response, the immune system attacks these invaders.
The immune system contains a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body. A type of white blood cell, called a lymphocyte, is an important part of the body’s defense system. Lymphocytes travel between organs like the spleen, tonsils, and lymph nodes. They recognize foreign invaders in the body and destroy them.
Types of immunotherapy doctors use to fight cancer include:
Doctors use immunotherapy for specific types of cancer, such as leukemia, lymphoma, kidney cancer, and others.
In children, immunotherapy isn’t used as a first-line treatment. If a child’s cancer isn’t cured with the usual treatment, the care team decides if the type of cancer may respond to immunotherapy.
Doctors give immunotherapy in the way that is best for the patient’s condition. These include:
Side effects can vary between the different types of immunotherapy and the kinds of cancer they treat. The side effects can be mild to severe.
Common side effects include:
Immunotherapy holds promise for fighting cancer. It’s too early to know if it could become a first-line treatment. If it does, this means it could be used first to treat cancer rather than chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Having a child being treated for cancer can be overwhelming for any family. But you’re not alone. To find support, talk to anyone on the care team or a hospital social worker. Many resources are available to help you and your child.
You also can find information and support online at:
Visit our Cancer Center for teens to get information and advice on treating and coping with cancer.
From treatments and prevention to coping with the emotional aspects of cancer, the Cancer Center provides comprehensive information that parents need.
Lymphoma is cancer that begins in the body’s lymphatic tissue. It’s a common type of cancer in children, but most recover from it.
Leukemia refers to cancers of the white blood cells. With the proper treatment, the outlook for kids with leukemia is quite good.
Chemotherapy is a big word for treatment with medicines used to help people who have cancer. This medicine kills the cancer cells that are making the person sick.
Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, irradiation, or X-ray therapy, is one of the most common forms of cancer treatment.
Certain cancers, or cancer treatment, can weaken the immune system, requiring a child to stay home to avoid exposure to germs. Here are ways to help your child make the best of it.
The immune system is made up of special cells, proteins, tissues, and organs that defend people against germs and microorganisms.
Deciding to enroll your child in a clinical study will depend on its potential benefits and risks, as well as your child’s particular illness. Learn more.
The immune system, composed of special cells, proteins, tissues, and organs that protect against germs and microorganisms, is the body’s defense against disease.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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