Immune-related adverse events (IRAEs) are side effects that can occur when a person receives immunotherapy. These side effects are caused by the immune system attacking healthy cells and tissues in the body. IRAEs can range from mild to severe and can affect any organ system in the body. While IRAEs are a known risk of immunotherapy, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing these side effects.
Choose the right immunotherapy treatment: Different types of immunotherapy can have different risks of developing IRAEs. For example, checkpoint inhibitors, which target proteins that regulate the immune system, are more likely to cause IRAEs than other types of immunotherapy. Your doctor can help you choose the right treatment based on your condition and medical history.
Discuss your medical history with your doctor: Your medical history can also affect your risk of developing IRAEs. If you have a history of autoimmune disorders or other medical conditions that affect your immune system, you may be at a higher risk of developing IRAEs. Be sure to discuss your medical history with your doctor before starting immunotherapy.
Monitor for symptoms: IRAEs can develop at any time during treatment, so it’s important to monitor for symptoms and report any changes to your doctor. Symptoms of IRAEs can vary depending on which organs are affected, but common symptoms include fatigue, rash, diarrhea, and shortness of breath.
Follow your treatment plan: Your doctor will provide you with a treatment plan that includes monitoring and management of IRAEs. It’s important to follow this plan and attend all scheduled appointments. If you experience IRAEs, your doctor may need to adjust your treatment or provide additional medications to manage the side effects.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle: A healthy lifestyle can also help reduce the risk of developing IRAEs. This includes eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption. A healthy lifestyle can also help support your immune system and improve your overall health.
Manage stress: Stress can affect the immune system and increase the risk of developing IRAEs. It’s important to manage stress through relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga, and to seek support from friends, family, or a mental health professional if needed.
Discuss alternative therapies with your doctor: Some alternative therapies, such as herbal supplements, can interact with immunotherapy and increase the risk of developing IRAEs. Be sure to discuss any alternative therapies with your doctor before starting treatment.
In conclusion, while IRAEs are a known risk of immunotherapy, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing these side effects. Choosing the right treatment, discussing your medical history with your doctor, monitoring for symptoms, following your treatment plan, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, managing stress, and discussing alternative therapies with your doctor can all help reduce the risk of developing IRAEs. It’s important to discuss any concerns or questions with your doctor, as they can provide personalized recommendations based on your individual situation.