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Cancer can't hide: advancing immunotherapy for melanoma

Traditional cancer treatments fall into three categories: surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. While these methods can be effective, they often come with their own serious side effects. Surgery can be disfiguring. Chemotherapy can be toxic to healthy cells. Radiation, particularly when used in treating childhood cancers, can lead to future health problems—including new cancers—sometimes years down the road.  

Over the past two decades, however, immunotherapy has emerged as a fourth category of cancer treatment. It involves harnessing the body’s own immune system to mount a defense against abnormal cancer cells that have avoided detection. Immunologically speaking, most cancer cells, as they arise from normal tissues, are too much like the rest the body for the immune system to recognize them as “foreign” and be able to reject them.

Read the complete article (by Jen A. Miller for medicineiowa.org).