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Lung Cancer Immunotherapy Side Effects-

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All FDA Approved Cancer Therapies for Lung Cancer (LC)  Have Side-Effects. Most are Negative. Once in Awhile a Side-Effect Can Make you Look Younger-

Make no mistake. Conventional cancer therapy will cause short, long-term and late stage side effects. Immunotherapy, anti-PD-1 therapy seems to cause fewer side effects than conventional toxic chemotherapy.

Image result for before and after immunotherapy repigmentation
 I write about negative collateral damage on PeopleBeatingCancer so often that I had to write a blog post a positive side effect.   Immunotherpy can cause “hair repigmentation.” The article linked and excerpted below made me wonder if some lung cancer patients might look younger after their immunotherapy.

I am a cancer survivor and cancer coach. Side effects aside, the more important issue is overall survival and quality of life after therapy for lung cancer. Pre-habilitation, nutrition, supplementation, lifestyle, and other evidence-based non-conventional therapies can reduce or eliminate negative side effects.

Do you have lung cancer? Scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Thanks and hang in there,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Recommended Reading:

Immunotherapy for LC leads to hair repigmentation

“Patients with lung cancer who were received immunotherapy experienced hair repigmentation, with the majority also experiencing good clinical response, according to recently published study results in JAMA Dermatology…

Four patients had squamous cell lung cancer and 10 had lung adenocarcinoma. Twelve patients were treated with anti-PD-1 therapy, including Opdivo (nivolumab, Bristol-Myers Squibb) and Keytruda (pembrolizumab, Merck), while two patients were treated with Tecentriq (atezolizumab, Genentech)…

There was diffuse darkening of hair in 13 patients, while one patient experienced black patches between white hairs…

Thirteen of the patients remained in treatment with a partial response or stable disease. One patient suspended therapy after four cycles of treatment due to disease progression and eventually died.”

Safety and Tolerability of PD-1/PD-L1 Inhibitors Compared with Chemotherapy in Patients with Advanced Cancer: A Meta-Analysis.

“A total of 3,450 patients from 7 RCTs were included in the meta-analysis: 4 nivolumab, 2 pembrolizumab, and 1 atezolizumab trials. The underlying malignancies included were non-small cell lung cancer (4 trials) and melanoma (3 trials). Compared with chemotherapy, the PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors had a significantly lower risk of all- and high-grade fatigue, sensory neuropathy, diarrhea and hematologic toxicities, all-grade anorexia, nausea, and constipation, any all- and high-grade AEs, and treatment discontinuation. There was an increased risk of all-grade rash, pruritus, colitis, aminotransferase elevations, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism, and all- and high-grade pneumonitis with PD1/PD-L1 inhibitors

PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors are overall better tolerated than chemotherapy. Our results provide further evidence supporting the favorable risk/benefit ratio for PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors…”


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ANNA SZERWINSKI says 3 years ago

I have question ,my husband in 2013 had a carcinoma papiloma in his kidney and blader.DR. removed his kidney and blader he got checked every 6 month and he was fine.Now his cancer spreed to his lungs 4 stage he went under chemo but did not worked for him.Now he got immiunotherapy and terrible side affect- skin rash— is this the begining to end his life. I am sick too but not diagnosed yet so i realy want to now how much time we have.Thank you if you respond. Maybe we should tray something different.Thank you.

    David Emerson says 3 years ago

    Hi Anna,

    I am sorry to read of your husband’s health challenges. Having cancers exhibit itself in three different organs over a period of years makes diagnosis and treatment very difficult. It is possible that your husband has had 1,2 or even three different types of cancer. To complicate diagnosis and treatment, the cancer that appeared in his lungs may not be “lung” cancer.

    No one can answer your question “is this the beginning of the end of his life.” All oncology can do is try different types of therapies and hope that your husband responds.

    I wish I could offer more direction. Good luck.

    David Emerson

Christine O'Brien says 4 years ago

I was brought to this sight after searching for keytruda related rash in my forehead appeared. I am a 44 year old female with advanced nsclc, diagnosed April of 2018. I found interesting the side effects of repigmentation of the hair, however I was educated that keytruda does interact with the efgr hormone responsible for skin.
A good side effect I experienced early on was that I had planter warts reoccurring for years that had gone away…. I also noticed my skin was looking younger and healthier.
However, almost 2 years later I am now feeling the good side effects wearing off and now I also have some thyroid issues.
Overall I feel so blessed to have been a candidate and received immunotherapy as a first line treatment. I am an otherwise healthy mother of a 22 and a 4 year old. My quality of life is amazing for a cancer patient. I pray to have many years with no progression. Thanks for the article and God bless.

    David Emerson says 4 years ago

    Hi Christine-

    It is GREAT to read of not only positive Keytruda side effects (younger looking skin? Awesome) but a Keytruda cancer survivor story as well. Would you mind filling in some of your specifics?

    Such as NSCLC but what stage at diagnosis?

    Let me know thanks.

    David Emerson

    Have you undergone any other therapies?

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