How is immunotherapy different from other cancer treatments?

Immunotherapy works in a different way to other cancer treatments and has different side effects. Other treatments for cancer include:

Surgery – removes cancer from a specific area of the body. This can be effective if the cancer is found before it has spread to other parts of the body. However, surgery on its own is rarely able to treat cancer that has spread. The main side effects of surgery are pain and risk of infection.

Radiation therapy – uses targeted radiation (usually x-ray beams) to kill or damage cancer cells so they cannot grow, multiply or spread. The treatment focuses on a specific area at a time and is most effective when the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body. It can also be used to treat symptoms such as pain. Radiation therapy can cause fatigue, as well as side effects at or near the treatment site (e.g. skin problems, nausea, bowel problems).

Chemotherapy – uses drugs to kill or damage rapidly dividing cells anywhere in the body. It can work for many types of cancer because cancer cells divide rapidly. Chemotherapy also damages healthy cells that divide rapidly, such as hair follicles, blood cells and cells inside the mouth and bowel. This can cause a range of side effects, such as nausea, fatigue, hair loss, and low white blood cell counts (making you more prone to infections). Unlike cancer cells, normal cells can recover, so most side effects are temporary.

Targeted therapy – uses drugs to attack specific features of cancer cells, known as molecular targets, that are causing the tumour to grow uncontrollably. While targeted therapy is designed to affect only the cancer cells, it can still cause side effects in some people.

As researchers learn more about cancer, treatments change. Immunotherapy is not a new idea, but older types were less effective. Checkpoint immunotherapy is having better results in some cancers.

Like all treatments, checkpoint immunotherapy sometimes causes side effects. The extra activity of the immune system can cause inflammation anywhere in the body, leading to a variety of possible side effects, such as skin rash, diarrhoea and breathing problems. Learn more about managing the side effects of immunotherapy.


Listen to our podcast on New Cancer Treatments – Immunotherapy and Targeted Therapy


Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on Immunotherapy.


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Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.


This information was last reviewed in July 2019
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