Immunotherapy for oesophageal cancer
There have been some advances in treating advanced oesophageal cancer with immunotherapy drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors. These use the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.
Clinical trials are testing checkpoint inhibitors for oesophageal cancer after surgery (adjuvant treatment). Checkpoint inhibitors are also given to some people with advanced oesophageal cancer as a first-line treatment together with chemotherapy. New immunotherapy drugs are changing rapidly. Talk to your doctor about whether immunotherapy is an option for you.
Side effects of immunotherapy
The side effects of immunotherapy can vary – not everyone will experience the same effects.
Immunotherapy can cause redness, swelling or pain (inflammation) in any of the organs of the body, leading to common side effects such as fatigue, skin rash and diarrhoea. The inflammation can lead to more serious side effects in some people, but this will be monitored closely and managed quickly.
Video: What is immunotherapy?
Watch this short video to learn more about drug therapies like immunotherapy and targeted therapy.
Podcast: New Treatments – Immunotherapy & Targeted Therapy
Dr Spiro Raftopoulos, Gastroenterologist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, WA; Peter Blyth, Consumer; Jeff Bull, Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer Nurse Consultant, Cancer Services, Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, SA; Mick Daws, Consumer; Dr Steven Leibman, Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeon, Royal North Shore Hospital, NSW; Prof Michael Michael, Medical Oncologist, Lower and Upper Gastrointestinal Oncology Service, and Co-Chair Neuroendocrine Unit, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Andrew Oar, Radiation Oncologist, Icon Cancer Centre, Royal Brisbane Hospital, QLD; Rose Rocca, Senior Clinical Dietitian: Upper Gastrointestinal, Nutrition and Speech Pathology Department, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Letchemi Valautha, Consumer; Lesley Woods, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA.
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