Lymphoma treatment is dependent on the type of lymphoma diagnosed and its severity. Very often, it involves a combination of two or more treatments. These options include:
In chemotherapy, strong medicines are used to destroy cancerous cells and prevent them from reproducing and growing. However, these drugs can also damage the normal cells of the body.
Immunotherapy is considered as a second line of treatment. It uses the patient’s own immune system, or medications made from components of the immune system to fight the disease. They include monoclonal antibodies and injections known as checkpoint inhibitors.
Stem cell transplantation
A patient with recurrent lymphoma may receive stem cell transplantation as a second line of treatment. This is a transplant of blood-forming stem cells and will allow the patient to receive chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or both. Through transplanted stem cells, new blood cells develop. These stem cells may come from the patient or from a healthy donor.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill the lymphoma cells. It will shrink the tumours and help control the pain. Radiation is sometimes used as the first-line therapy in patients who have very large lymph node masses.
In targeted therapy, drugs are used to target the genes and proteins that contribute to the growth, progression and spread of the cancer cells. Targeted therapy reduces the effect of treatment on healthy cells. However, this may not be a permanent solution as the cancer may evolve and become immune to the drug, so this is where immunotherapy may come in.
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