Immunotherapy is a form of cancer treatment involving drugs that enable the immune system to fight cancer cells on its own. Compared to chemotherapy, it leads to milder side effects, but being in the experimental stage, it can mislead doctors in their diagnoses when patients are suffering from those effects. West Virginia cancer patients will want to know what they can do to prevent a misdiagnosis.

Side effects can arise for two reasons. A patient may have an allergy to any of the newer immunotherapy drugs, which can lead to a rash around the injection site, poor vision, and even swelling in the liver. Other side effects include fever, nausea, and dry mouth.

In a worst case scenario, a patient may suffer from severe side effects due to an over-stimulation of the immune system. In other words, the drug may cause the immune system to kill healthy cells that are also quickly dividing like the cancer cells. This happens in random areas of the body, making a correct diagnosis difficult. If left untreated, the condition results in tissue damage and sometimes death. Patients should make sure to see an oncologist and mention every symptom they experience, even when it seems irrelevant. Side effects can usually be treated with corticosteroids and other medications that suppress the immune system.

Since immunotherapy is a developing science, it can be hard to accuse doctors of medical professional negligence if they fail to diagnose its side effects. This is why victims of a misdiagnosis should speak with a malpractice attorney who can evaluate the claim and determine whether the doctor did not exercise the required standard of care.