Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment
Once cancer has been detected, biopsied and “staged,” your team of specialists in hematologic oncology, radiation oncology, radiology and pathology will work together to assess your best course of non-Hodgkin lymphoma treatment. This will include formulating a coordinated plan of personalized treatment consistent with the highest standards of care. Your treatment will be tailored to your specific type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and it may involve a combination of radiation, chemotherapy, the use of drugs called biological agents and bone marrow or stem cell transplants. In cases where the lymphoma is characterized as indolent (or slow growing), you may even postpone treatment and practice what is called watchful waiting. This will be done in connection with your WellStar physician, who will closely monitor the progression of your illness with regular checkups and blood tests.
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Surgery
Typically, surgery is not performed as the sole treatment in non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients because the standard of care is radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs given by mouth or injection to destroy cancer cells. It can be used to assist in the cure of cancer patients or to prolong life or the quality of life.
Chemotherapy is typically used for non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients in concert with targeted therapy called monoclonal antibodies, usually administered through a vein in a hospital, clinic or doctor’s office.
There are currently several chemotherapy protocols for treating non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and your WellStar physician will base your treatment decision on your individual cancer type, stage, your general overall health and whether you are pregnant.
Radiation therapy is often used for non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients whose disease is classified as Stage I or II. Sometimes, chemotherapy may be used in conjunction with radiation therapy, or if the cancer recurs after radiation.
WellStar offers standard radiation through cutting edge techniques to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Your WellStar radiation oncologist is highly expert in administering the proper dose as well as pinpointing the precise area that needs radiating, thus limiting the amount of healthy tissue affected by the radiation.
Also, in some cases, you may be a candidate for systemic radiation. Instead of radiation being administered outside the body, radioactive isotopes are delivered by targeted therapy, called monoclonal antibodies, directly to the cells. Patients are given an injection containing these agents.
If your cancer recurs after radiation and chemotherapy, your WellStar physician may recommend a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. In these procedures, your own bone marrow or stem cells are used to help fight the cancer. They are removed from your body, then frozen and stored.
Meanwhile, chemotherapy is used to kill the cancer cells remaining in your body. Then, your bone marrow or stem cells are returned to your body via injection.