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Cancer Information

Lymphoma Treatment Options

Lymphoma Treatment Options

There are different treatments available for depending on the type and stage of lymphoma. Other factors include your age, your overall health, and your own preferences. The types of treatment that may be prescribed are as follows.

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​Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to help kill lymphoma cells. It is also called systemic therapy as the drugs travel through the blood stream. For lymphoma, usually more than one drug is given. Depending on the type of lymphoma you have, the drugs are given into a vein, by mouth or through the space around your spinal cord. Once the drugs enter our system, they will spread throughout the body.

Chemotherapy is usually given in cycles. Each treatment cycle is followed by a rest period. You may have your treatment in a clinic or at the doctor's office. Some patients may need to stay in hospital for treatment.

People with certain types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma may have biological therapy. Biological therapy is the use of substances that bolster one's immune system and helps it to fight cancer. Monoclonal antibodies, a form of protein that binds to cancer cells, is the type of biological therapy used for lymphoma and can be administered through the vein at the clinic.

Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill lymphoma cells or keep them from growing. In this case, the radiation will only take place in the part of your body where the lymphoma is located.

If lymphoma recurs after treatment, your doctor may recommend stem cell transplantation. A stem cell transplant is the replacement of the abnormal bone marrow with stem cells or marrow free of lymphoma from a compatible donor.

Before the stem cell transplant, you will receive either chemotherapy or radiation therapy in high dosages. In some cases, even both may be prescribed. This will destroy all your lymphoma cells and normal blood cells in your bone marrow. After which, you will receive the healthy stem cells through a large vein.

The healthy stem cells may come from you or from someone who donates their stem cells to you:

  • From yourself: An autologous stem cell transplant uses your own stem cells. Your stem cells are removed before you get the high-dose chemotherapy or radiation therapy. The cells may then be removed to treat any lymphoma cells present. Your stem cells will be frozen and stored. After you receive treatment to remove leukemia cells from your marrow, your stem cells will then be thawed and returned to you.
  • From a family member or other donor: An allogeneic stem cell transplant uses healthy stem cells from a donor. Your brother, sister, or parent may be the donor. Sometimes the stem cells come from a donor who isn't related. Doctors use blood tests to learn how closely a donor's cells match your cells.
  • From your identical twin: If you have an identical twin, a syngeneic stem cell transplant uses stem cells from your healthy twin. After the transplant, the new blood cells will then develop from the transplanted stem cells and replace those that were destroyed by the treatment. You may have to stay in the hospital for several weeks or months to recuperate. The time needed differs for individuals.