Weighing Your Treatment Options When Battling Cancer With An Autoimmune Disease
If you are struggling with an autoimmune disease, you might also have an increased risk of contracting cancer. This is because of the fact that an autoimmune disease can lead to the body attacking cells that are considered to be healthy. There are also treatments for autoimmune diseases that can increase your risk for cancer. Therefore, you will need to work with a cancer care center that is experienced with treating patients who are struggling with an autoimmune disease.
Some Treatments Increase the Risk of Cancer
While some treatments for the autoimmune disease can cause an increased risk of cancer, this increase is considered to be very small. You will also be able to undergo chemotherapy as normal if you are suffering from an autoimmune disease.
Immunotherapy Can Help Fight Autoimmune Diseases and Cancer
However, one newer cancer treatment can be especially useful when treating both cancer and your autoimmune disease. Immunotherapy is a treatment for cancer that is meant to activate your immune system to fight cancer. If you are experiencing symptoms that are associated with an autoimmune disease, make sure that these are not simply side effects of the immunotherapy treatments.
Immunotherapy Comes with Some Side Effects
There are some side effects to auto-immune therapy. For example, you might experience pain, flu-like symptoms, or swelling. However, you might not be able to receive your other autoimmune treatments when undergoing immunotherapy. This is because some treatments can increase the risk of your cancer returning.
If you are experiencing severe side effects as a result of the immunosuppressants you are on, your doctor might prescribe medications meant to counteract these effects such as anti-inflammatory drugs. Fortunately, the majority of patients do not experience these side effects.
You Will Need Help from a Variety of Specialists
A cancer care center is specialized in treating a variety of forms of cancer but will not be specialized in treating autoimmune disorders. Therefore, you will need a team that consists of various specialists who will be able to facilitate treatment options that will maximize the chances that you will have the best possible outcome.
Depending on the type of autoimmune disease you are suffering from, you may need to undergo more concern screenings than the general population because you might be at a greater cancer risk even if you are able to beat cancer. It's important to always remain in contact with cancer care services. For more information on cancer care, contact a professional near you.