MedStar Health Explains Immunotherapy’s Role in Fighting Cancer


(lively music) – October is breast cancer awareness month so we’re answering your health questions with the help from MedStar experts. And we have Dr. Mahsa Mohebtash here. She’s the medical oncologist,
Chief of Medical Oncology and Hematology from MedStar Health. Thank you so much for joining us. – Thank you for having me. – Now what is checkpoint
immunotherapy and how does it work? – Checkpoint immunotherapy
is a type of immunotherapy which removes the brake
from the immune system, so body’s own immune system
can see the cancer differently and can attack cancer cells. – Now what is the role of immunotherapy specifically when it
comes to breast cancer. – That’s a very good
question because we have immunotherapy in many other cancers. The role of immunotherapy in breast cancer is still evolving. We know in certain types of breast cancer and certain stages, like
stage four breast cancer, which is triple negative, if
it carries a certain marker they can benefit from immunotherapy. But in earlier stages, and
which patient may benefit most from it, and which
combination works better, it’s still a question on the table, and many studies are ongoing
to answer those questions. – Oh wow, now are there
any serious side effects associated with this immunotherapy that you’re telling us about? – Like any medication, of
course they have side effects, but they are in general
much better tolerated than other chemotherapies. When you remove the brake
from the immune system, it can attack your own body,
but most of the side effects are well managed and well tolerated. In general it’s better
tolerated than other treatments. – Now I know we have experts like yourself here in the studio
today, so we wanna stress the importance of people
calling in to help. I mean, is there anything
you wanna tell the public? – So I think people
have to feel comfortable asking any question that
they are concerned about. They don’t have to feel
that this is not important or I have to wait until later time. Anytime, either if it’s their
physician or the TV experts, they have to call and get the
answers for their questions. – Well she said it perfectly,
make sure you call right now. That number again 410-671-0702 to get your health questions answered.

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