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How is Lymphoma Treated?

An Introduction to Lymphoma Treatment

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Updated May 23, 2007

To someone newly diagnosed with lymphoma, treatment options may be difficult to understand. There are nearly 30 types of lymphoma, and often there are multiple treatment options for a single disease. Here is a brief guide to understanding lymphoma treatment.

Before treatment is decided

After the diagnosis of lymphoma and finding out the exact type of Hodgkin's or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a number of tests are carried out to find out the extent of disease (the stage of lymphoma) and other factors that determine the prognosis. When all these investigations are complete, the oncologist counsels the patient regarding the best treatment options available.

Understanding the types of lymphoma treatment

There are four main types of treatment for lymphomas:

Treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Hodgkin’s lymphoma is usually treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Treatment options are based on the stage of lymphoma and some prognostic factors. Nearly all patients receive chemotherapy, and radiation may be used in early stage disease usually after chemotherapy or occasionally as the only treatment.

Treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas (NHL)

There are nearly 25 different types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Some of them behave very differently from others. The treatment of all NHL is not the same but depends on the type and behavior of the particular type. Chemotherapy is usually the main treatment. Radiation or monoclonal antibody therapy may be added to chemotherapy in some situations for added benefit.

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