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The misdiagnosing of immunotherapy side effects

| Feb 19, 2018 | Medical Malpractice |

Immunotherapy is a treatment New York residents may choose to pursue over chemotherapy if they are suffering from mesothelioma, a form of cancer. The side effects of immunotherapy are typically mild. However, when they are severe, they can be very unpredictable.

Even though the science for immunotherapy has been in practice since the 1890s, medical professionals have not been able to determine how individual patients may respond to the treatment. A significant number of patients gain very little from immunotherapy treatment, while a few will experience potentially fatal side effects. The medical community has not had much practice detecting and addressing the side effects of the treatment. In order to avoid having their side effects misdiagnosed, patients who opt to undergo immunotherapy for their mesothelioma have to have a preemptive approach.

Chemotherapy uses drugs that kill the body’s rapidly dividing cells. It is one of the most standard types of cancer treatment and is usually effective in targeting cancer cells. However, it also attacks the normal cells in the body, causing severe side effects. Immunotherapy uses the body’s immune system to combat cancer cells by having checkpoint inhibitors incapacitate the molecules that prevent immune systems cells from being active. In response, the immune system becomes hyperactive and increases the likelihood that it will locate and eradiate the cells causing cancer. Side effects can include fatigue, nausea, and loss of appetite.

An adverse reaction to immunotherapy can result in a worsened medical condition. Physicians who continue with the procedure after a patient has been harmed may have committed malpractice, and patients who have found themselves in this type of a situation might want to meet with an attorney to see what recourse they might have.

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