Cancer therapies can be highly individualized – your treatment may differ from what is described below.
Virtually all lymphoma patients can be helped with proper treatment. Approximately 50% can be cured and 50% can have their disease made better for periods of time varying from several months to many years.
New treatments or clinical trials may be offered to patients, other than ones described here.
Treatment plans are different for lymphomas with different grade, type, and stage. The patient's age, health, and other concerns are also part of planning treatment for lymphoma.
Lymphoma in some situations or areas of the body needs special consideration, for example:
- Lymphoma related to a previous or existing infection, such as AIDS, HTLV-1, or hepatitis-B or C.
- Lymphoma appearing in certain parts of the body: GI tract, testes, central nervous system (brain, spinal cord), eye, paranasal sinus, or skin.
- Transplant related lymphomas
- Discordant histology lymphomas, which have more than one kind of lymphoma appearing at the same time.
In these cases, extra tests may be done and treatment may be different than described below.
For some slow growing, indolent lymphomas, no treatment is needed right away.
- Using a combination of different drugs, along with radiation therapy, has produced excellent results for many subgroups of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
- Many different chemotherapy drugs are used to treat lymphoma.
- Immunotherapy drugs called monoclonal antibodies are often used. This is sometimes called biological therapy.
- The side-effects of the chemotherapy protocols (treatment plans) for lymphoma are quite variable. Some protocols do not cause any side-effects. Most protocols cause moderate side-effects and a few protocols cause major side-effects. The side-effects associated with each treatment plan are specific to the drugs and schedule being used and should be discussed with your oncologist.
Bone Marrow Transplant
- Early stage follicular lymphomas are usually treated with radiation therapy and have excellent results.
- Stages I and II diffuse lymphomas are usually treated with radiation and brief chemotherapy.
- Radiation treatment may be added after chemotherapy, based on the results of diagnostic scans such as CT and PET following treatment.
- Extremely high dose chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation can be effective if regular dose chemotherapy fails. If you will be undergoing a bone marrow transplant as part of your treatment, you may be interested in the information from the
Leukemia/BMT Program of BC.
Guidelines for follow-up after treatment are covered on our website. Follow the link and use the left side menu to jump to the Follow Up section.
- You will be returned to the care of your family doctor or specialist for regular follow-up. If you do not have a family physician, please discuss this with your BC Cancer Agency oncologist or nurse.
- Follow-up testing is based on your type of cancer and your individual circumstances.
Life after Cancer focuses on the issues that cancer survivors can face.