Targeted immunotherapy vs immunotherapy


Can anyone offer any assistance. From what I can gather targeted immunotherapy (cures cancer) and immunotherapy just delays/slow the cancer process?

So my dad who has previously had prostate cancer and then melanoma cancer both treated successfully and removed. More recently a lump in his neck identified as stage 3 melanoma cancer of the lymph node. 8 lymph nodes were removed with only one being cancerous. 

3 months later Targeted immunotherapy was offered as treatment. But before this treatment can begin, he had to have a pet scan and a heart scan. The pet scan has shown that the cancer has spread to his lower ribs and spine (now stage 4). He has now been told he will not receive targeted immunotherapy as previously discussed and it will now just be immunotherapy.

Obviously this is a very stressful time at the moment for my dad and all the family, but what hasn't helped Is the fact that the macmillan nurse he spoke to cannot tell him or explain to him why the treatment has changed?

Can anyone please shed any light on this? 

  • Hello

    I am really sorry to hear that Dad has been diagnosed with cancer for a third time, I can hear he has been through such a lot and that this is feeling a really worrying time for you all.  I am really glad you have got in touch.

    I am also sorry to hear that the Macmillan Nurse based at the hospital has been unable to clarify why exactly there has been a change in Dad’s treatment plan; it is understandable that this would be feeling confusing and would leave you with lots of questions.

    It sounds as if having a conversation with one of our Cancer Information Nurses on the Support Line may be helpful Markw96. They are there to support anyone affected by cancer with any general medical questions they may have. They would be able to talk through immunotherapy and stage 4 melanoma more, and provide you with as much information and support as they can. Just to clarify, the Cancer Information Nurses on the Support Line are separate from the Specialist Macmillan Nurses based at the hospital and wouldn’t have access to medical records.

    To contact our Information Nurses Team, you would just need to call the Macmillan Support Line on: 0808 808 00 00, select ‘1’ for the Support Line and then ‘3’ for the Information Nurse Team. Alternatively, you can speak with them via web chat, just select ‘questions for a nurse’ as your subject.

    Please know as well as to speak with our Information Nurses, you can also stay in contact with our Support Line for emotional support  and a space to talk things through, or for help with any practical concerns, and questions around the finances or managing work.

    We really don’t want you feeling as if you have to struggle on your own with any of this Markw96.

    Take care,


    Information and Support Adviser

    Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days
    a week, 8am-8pm) or by email. ‘