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Like chemotherapy, biological therapy uses drugs to help treat cancer; unlike chemotherapy however, biological therapy is used in an attempt to support the body's immune function to help it fight off the cancerous cells itself. Oftentimes, dietary, herbal and body and mind treatments also claim to help support the body's natural immune response to cancerous cells. Check out the cervical cancer treatment page to see all the possible treatments for cervical cancer.
Effect of Biological Therapy on Cervical Cancer
Biological therapy is a treatment that uses drugs to improve the way your body’s immune system fights disease. Your immune system is your body’s natural defense against disease. A healthy and strong immune system can detect the difference between healthy cells and cancer cells. Biological therapy attempts to strengthen and improve your natural immune system so that it can fight the cancer more effectively.
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Possible side effects include:
- Red, sore area where injection was given
- Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, gastrointestinal upset)
- Allergic reactions (cough, wheezing, skin rash)
- Confusion, disorientation, depression
These treatments can cause extreme fatigue. It is important to get as much rest as possible when your body is fighting cancer. Talk with your doctor about how best you can minimize side effects and the discomforts that come with treatment. Also make certain that you do not take any medications (prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal supplements) without first checking with the physician in charge of your biological therapy.
Types of Biological Therapy
Interferon is the most common form of biological therapy. Interferons interfere with the division of cancer cells and can slow their growth. There are several types of interferons, and they are normally produced in the body. For the use of biological therapy, interferons are made in the laboratory.
Most biological therapies are given by injection into a vein. They are frequently given in combination with chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/home/index.asp .
National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/.
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