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ImmunotherapyIssue Introductions

Immunotherapy: Innovating the Way We Treat Cancer

Dive into this special issue focused on immunotherapy, the innovative methods of treating cancer today, with this introduction by Lillie Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG.
August 2020 – Immunotherapy
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Oncology Navigation & Survivorship®; Co-Founder, Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators® (AONN+); University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer, Professor of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Co-Developer, Work Stride-Managing Cancer at Work, Johns Hopkins Healthcare Solutions
Breast cancer survivor

Hello, everyone!

This special issue of CONQUER magazine is about a very innovative way of treating cancer. For many decades, we have been using surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy as the main treatments for different types of cancer.

As a result of laboratory research conducted over the past 3 decades, along with the many patients with cancer who have come before you who have participated in clinical trials, today we have newer therapies that are very innovative and work entirely different from the methods of therapies that use harmful chemicals and have serious side effects, of cutting through the cancer or burning it.

Immunotherapy is different from previous therapies. In this issue, you will find out what immunotherapy is, why it is important, and how it works different from other cancer therapies. You will also learn some other terms that may be new to you, such as the different types of immunotherapy, including checkpoint inhibitors, CAR T-cell therapy, monoclonal antibodies, cytokines, immunomodulators, and cancer vaccines. (If you are on the game show Jeopardy and they have a topic about immunotherapy, you will know all the answers!)

This issue also provides information about how immunotherapy is used in combination with other immunotherapies or with other drugs, such as targeted therapies or chemotherapy drugs improve survival for many patients. You will also learn about new immunotherapies that are now available for the first time for some types of cancer, such as non-melanoma skin cancer.

These new types of immunotherapies bring hope for many patients with cancer who have tried other treatments that are no longer working for them. In fact, CONQUER: the patient voice would not be the “patient voice” if we did not include at least one patient story from a woman who shares her experience of how one of the newer types of immunotherapy—CAR T-cell therapy—has gave her new hope for life after so many other cancer treatments failed her.

This is an exciting time in the cancer world today. We are learning more than ever before about cancer, which helps a growing number of patients with cancer to become survivors of their disease, mainly with the use of new immunotherapies.

Immunotherapy is made up of different types of therapies. Today we have new and exciting treatments and many types of immunotherapies that use the patient’s own immune system to get rid of cancer by attacking the cancer cells.

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Last modified: October 12, 2020

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