Your body contains two types of white blood cells: T lymphocytes (T cells) and B lymphocytes (B cells). If you have a cancer of B lymphocytes, you are more likely to be recovered; a lymphoma affecting the T lymphocytes is usually more difficult to be treated. Moreover, the chances of recovery are much higher for all patients diagnosed with early lymphoma
Therefore, the treatment depends not only on the type of lymphoma , but also on various prognostic factors such as stage, number of nodes affected, spreading to other organs, etc. Your oncologist can also consider your age and general health to recommend a treatment. Younger patients are usually recommended more aggressive treatments.
Lymphoma treatment may involve a single therapy (chemotherapy for instance) or a combination of many therapeutic methods: chemotherapy, radiation therapy, biotherapy, etc. For an early stage lymphoma, radiotherapy is used to destroy the cancerous cells or shrink the tumor. To treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosed at an advanced stage, chemotherapy and other therapies are usually used.
Chemotherapy is an important tool in the treatment of lymphoma. It kills cancer cells by preventing them from reproducing. Chemotherapy protocol used varies depending on the stage of the lymphoma and your health. In general, the elderly receive lower doses. It is often necessary to prescribe to young adult high doses of chemotherapy to improve their chance of surviving. These chemotherapeutic agents can be administered alone or in combination. When many drugs are used, the treatment becomes more aggressive and can cause many side effects. In addition, in the treatment of lymphoma, chemotherapy is often used in combination with radiation therapy.
Radiotherapy is a loco cancer treatment, using subatomic particles or electromagnetic waves (gamma radiation and X-rays). The rays destroy cancer cells by blocking their ability to multiply. Radiation of the lymph nodes can be very effective in less severe lymphoma or if the tumor that has not spread. In fact, some people can be completely cured the radiotherapy if the tumor is diagnosed early.
As in chemotherapy, radiation therapy can cause short or long term effects. Depending on the part of your body that has been irradiated, the therapy can cause infertility. If your reproductive organs are going to be exposed to the radiation, talk to your doctor about freezing your sperm or conserving your ova (female microscopic egg) cell before performing the treatment.
Also called immunotherapy, biotherapy consists of using monoclonal antibodies, growth factors, and vaccines to boost or restore the ability of the immune system to fight disease. Rituximab is a biotherapy drug approved by the FDA often used in the treatment of lymphoma. Interferon alpha is sometimes used in certain types of lymphoma; however, its effectiveness is not yet approved.
Bone Marrow Transplant
If your doctor thinks it can be helpful, he can perform a bone marrow transplant. Chemotherapy always causes a decreased of blood cells; In fact, the lymphoma itself can decrease your white blood cells. A bone marrow transplant is necessary in the treatment of lymphoma to repair this damage, and helps your body to fight the cancer and infections. The bone marrow transplant helps to replace lost blood without waiting for your organism to produce others. Your surgeon can take healthy bone marrow from a compatible donor (allogeneic bone marrow transplant) or from your own body (autologous bone marrow transplant). In general, bone marrow transplant brings better results among young adults.