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Biological therapies use live organisms (such as bacteria and viruses), natural substances from your body, or comparable substances made in a laboratory to treat cancer. These therapies partner with the immune system to boost your body’s natural ability to fight cancer. Another name for biological therapy is immunotherapy.
One of the many benefits of biological therapy for cancer is its specificity: Cancer cells look and act differently than normal cells in your body. Using your immune system to treat cancer can selectively destroy cancer cells and spare healthy cells, unlike conventional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.
Learn more about all of the advanced cancer treatments that we offer at Dignity Health, including biological therapy in Arizona. Find a Doctor online or call 877.914.1670 to schedule a consultation. We provide compassionate, comprehensive care for patients of all ages.
Biological therapy has the ability to slow or stop the growth and spread of cancer cells. Cancer specialists may prescribe biological therapy alone or with another cancer treatment. The goal is to either enhance treatment or reduce side effects from certain cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation.
There are many kinds of biological therapies. Some biological therapies help your immune system better recognize and destroy cancer cells. Other therapies target cancer cells directly — the therapy changes cancer cells so they can no longer “hide” from your body’s immune system.
Your oncologist will evaluate the type and stage of your cancer to determine if you are a good candidate for biological therapy. Some therapies target only specific types of cancers or tumors that have specific gene mutations, or are most beneficial only at certain stages of cancer, such as metastatic cancer. In some cases, your response to first-line cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, will help your doctor decide whether or not to recommend biological therapy.
Your cancer care team at Dignity Health will consist of board-certified medical and radiation oncologists, surgeons, specialists, and others who will customize your treatment and care.
Our cancer care team will give you biological therapy by mouth (as a pill) or by injection into a vein, under the skin, into a muscle, or into the bladder. Biological therapy is not available to treat all types and stages of cancer. However, many biological therapies are being tested a for different types and stages of cancers in clinical trials.
Your recovery from biological therapy will depend on the type of therapy, the dose, your overall health, and severity of side effects. Follow-up tests and imaging studies help your doctor determine how well your therapy is working. Be honest with your doctor about lingering side effects and find out how best to manage them.