5 Ways to Boost Your Immunity During Immunotherapy

Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 12 May 2022

5 Ways to Boost Your Immunity During Immunotherapy

If you are currently receiving immunotherapy or are about to begin, you might be wondering how you can “boost" your immune system. Immunotherapy does not deplete the body's natural defences in the way that other medications can. They boost the body’s immune response, assisting your body in locating and attacking additional cancer cells.

Nonetheless, there are a variety of possible causes for the immune system to be damaged. One reason is that people often turn to newer immunotherapy drugs when other options have failed. These therapies, which include chemotherapy and radiation, have been shown to suppress the immune system.

These five evidence based tips will help you in maintaining a healthy immune system during cancer treatment.

1. Sleep Well

Plan for a total of 7 hours of sleep per night. It's okay to get less on occasion, but if you don't get enough most nights, your body will be exhausted. You'll be more susceptible to colds, the flu, and other severe illnesses as a result. You won't be able to recover as quickly as a healthy person will.

Try these steps if you're having trouble falling and staying asleep:

  • Every day, go to bed and get up at the same time.
  • Do not go to bed hungry or overstuffed.
  • Every night, have a bedtime routine, such as taking a warm bath, meditating, or journaling.
  • Maintain a calm, dim, and quiet environment in your bedroom.

2. Eat Smart

Eat a variety of nutritious foods while on immunotherapy. Fruits, vegetables, and protein are all essential components of a healthy diet. The aim is to get a variety of nutrients that will help your immune system and other body systems. If you're not hungry during treatment, continue to consume small quantities of foods that you know are healthy and nutritious.

Knowing what to avoid is also part of eating wise. Supplements with the phrase “immune support" on the label should be avoided. They could have an impact on your treatment. They're also unlikely to improve your fitness.

You should also avoid so-called “cancer cure" diets. Livingston-Wheeler rehabilitation, Gerson therapy, and Kelley and Gonzalez therapies are among them. There is no scientific proof that they benefit, and they may have adverse side effects on your treatment course.

3. Stay Active

A balanced immune system necessitates regular exercise. It's also risk-free for many cancer patients. Consult your doctor to determine how much and what type of medication is right for you.

It's important to remember that there are days that you shouldn't exercise. Working out, for example, is not a good idea if you have:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Low red blood cell count (anaemia)
  • Poor muscle coordination (ataxia)
  • Low white blood cell count

4. Manage Stress

Daily stress is normal in cancer patients, and it is harmful to their health. It fills the body with chemicals that can negatively impact your immune system, digestive system, and other bodily functions.

Making safe lifestyle decisions that are also beneficial for your defences is one way to lower it. Eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, and exercise on a regular basis. Other methods for reducing stress include:

  • Deep breathing
  • Massage
  • Meditation
  • Reading
  • Listening to music
  • Talking to a mental health professional

5. Stay Away From Illness

Avoid crowded areas where germs abound if you want your immune system to concentrate on battling cancer rather than stomach bugs or colds. However, if you have a poor immune system, even your kitchen can be dangerous. These pointers will assist you in avoiding bacteria:

  • Hands should be thoroughly washed before and during food preparation.
  • Set the fridge to 4.4 degrees Celsius or lower.
  • To capture drips when thawing meat, fish, or poultry, place a dish underneath.
  • Before peeling or cutting fruits and vegetables, make sure they're clean.
  • Raw sprouts should not be consumed.
  • Even “prewashed" frozen salads and related products should be rinsed.


Referenced on 27/4/2021

  1. National Cancer Institute: “Immunotherapy: Using the Immune System to Treat Cancer.”
  2. Aging: “Corticosteroids and immune checkpoint blockade.”
  3. Opdivo.
  4. American Society of Clinical Oncology: “Understanding Immunotherapy.”
  5. Pflügers Archiv: European Journal of Physiology: “Sleep and immune function.”
  6. Mayo Clinic: “Sleep tips: 7 steps to better sleep,” “Stress Management.”
  7. American Cancer Society: “Nutrition for the Person With Cancer During Treatment.”
  8. https://www.webmd.com/cancer/cancer-treatment-protect-immune-system

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