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What New Jersey residents should know about immunotherapy

Chemotherapy is not the only option for treating cancer. Immunotherapy is an upcoming form of treatment where a drug enhances the immune system so that it attacks rapidly dividing cancer cells. As it is still in the developmental stage, its effects cannot be properly measured, and its side effects are often misdiagnosed.

Immunotherapy patients normally feel like they are fighting the flu with symptoms like fever, nausea and fatigue among the most common side effects. Aches and pains may develop in random areas, making a correct diagnosis difficult. Patients may also experience dry mouth, a loss of appetite and a rash where they were injected. This would be due to an allergic reaction to a new drug.

Another danger is that the immune system becomes so stimulated that it attacks even healthy cells that are quickly dividing. The symptoms range from a rash to an inflamed liver, and they can be life-threatening if left untreated. Corticosteroids, or any medication that controls the immune system, may effectively address the issue.

While specialists are conducting clinical trials to improve immunotherapy, patients can tell their oncologists about all their symptoms, even the most insignificant. When speaking with another doctor, the patient should inform him or her that they're seeing an oncologist and keep the two physicians in touch with one another.

When immunotherapy patients are the victims of medical negligence, they can consider whether they have the grounds for a malpractice claim. They might visit a law firm that focuses on injury claims and request a case assessment. If the lawyer determines that the patient did everything the doctor instructed and that the doctor failed to live up to an objective standard of care, the lawyer may prepare for negotiations. A successful claim might compensate the victim for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages.

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