After an individual is diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, there may be different types of doctors involved with the treatment process, including: medical oncologist, hematologist, radiation oncologist, or a bone marrow transplant doctor. There are many other specialists that may be on the treatment team like nurses and physician assistants.
Choosing a treatment method is a big decision, and consulting with a doctor is imperative to your recovery process. When discussing treatment options, it’s important to set goals, ask questions, and outline any possible side effects with the medical team to determine which is the best course of action for a Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma diagnosis.
Depending on the type and stage, treatment options for NHL might include:
Chemotherapy. The use of anti-cancer drugs that are usually administered intravenously (injected into a vein) or taken by mouth. It is the most common type of treatment for NHL and can be used alone or in combination with other treatments depending on the type and stage of the lymphoma.
Immunotherapy. A treatment that either strengthens the patient’s immune system or uses synthetic versions of immune system components to kill lymphoma cells or slow their growth.
Targeted Therapy Drugs. This type of treatment works differently from standard chemotherapy in that they precisely identify and attack specific cancer cells. It can be used in combination with other treatments and may cause less severe side effects.
Radiation Therapy. The application of high-energy rays to kill cancer cells is another effective form of NHL treatment. It is mainly administered for some types of NHL if they’re found early and can be used to ease symptoms caused by lymphoma.
High-Dose Chemotherapy and Stem Cell Transplant. With a stem cell transplant, doctors can administer high doses of chemo because the patient receives a transplant of blood-forming stem cells to restore the bone marrow afterwards.
Surgery. This is often a procedure used to obtain a biopsy sample and identify a lymphoma, but is not usually used as a form of treatment. In such instances, surgery is sometimes used when lymphomas that have started in certain organs outside the lymph system have not spread to other parts of the body.
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