Treatment options in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
The treatment you are given for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is chosen specifically for you by your doctor. It depends on a range of factors, such as whether the disease is indolent (slow growing) or aggressive (fast growing), the stage it is at, what type or “grade”, it is, and the patient’s general health and age.
If you are receiving treatment for the first time for advanced indolent disease, you will typically be given chemotherapy and/or monoclonal antibody therapy. If you have aggressive disease, chemotherapy is usually given in combination with monoclonal antibody therapy, along with radiotherapy for large lymph nodes.
For patients who have relapsed after a period of remission, the treatment used depends on whether the disease is indolent or aggressive. Relapsed indolent disease is usually treated with chemotherapy, often with monoclonal antibody therapy. Monoclonal antibody therapy may also be given on its own.
Relapsed aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, or indolent disease that has relapsed as aggressive, is more difficult to treat. Patients usually have chemotherapy, possibly with a “peripheral blood stem cell transplant”. Monoclonal antibody therapy may also be used to help eliminate remaining disease cells.
It’s important that you learn how to recognise and deal with any symptoms you experience during the treatment process, whether due to the disease or the treatment. This will make a huge difference to your life and help the healthcare team get the very best out of the medication.
Don’t be afraid of having treatment. It’s designed to help you to get better, and there are a range of medications and simple measures you can take to make things easier, which are discussed in detail on this website. Remember, understanding your treatment and being aware of what it is doing is one step towards helping your body get better.
Some useful links Treatment for newly diagnosed NHL