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Proton Therapy for Lymphoma

The experts at MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center are leaders in the research and treatment of lymphoma with proton therapy. We are one of the only centers in the world offering proton therapy as an option for patients with lymphoma who require radiation therapy or for those patients with a type of lymphoma that is resistant to chemotherapy.

Lymphoma is a type of cancer that develops in the lymphatic system (lymph nodes) and can be classified as either Hodgkin's disease or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Because the lymphatic system runs throughout a person’s body, lymphoma can occur in several areas within the body.

Traditionally, lymphoma is treated with chemotherapy followed by radiation therapy. But because many lymphomas occur in the chest near critical structures such as the heart, lungs or esophagus, it can be difficult to get the high doses of radiation needed to the tumor without causing damage to those sensitive areas. With proton therapy, our specialized team of cancer experts are able to create a treatment plan that precisely targets even the most difficult to reach lymphoma tumors while minimizing the damage to healthy tissues and vital organs.

Proton therapy is especially valuable in treating patients with lymphoma whose tumors are in the chest or involve the anterior mediastinum, as well as those whose tumors that have proven to be resistant to chemotherapy. For patients with chemotherapy-resistant tumors that require targeted high doses of radiation, proton therapy may be the only hope for curative treatment.

With proton therapy for lymphoma, treatments typically take about 15 to 30 minutes each day and are delivered five days a week for approximately four to seven weeks. The course of treatment and length of time per treatment each day varies based on each patient’s individual case. Most patients tolerate the treatments extremely well and are able to continue to work and exercise during their treatment course and immediately after treatment is complete.

Patients with lymphoma who receive proton therapy will generally undergo chemotherapy first, followed by proton therapy treatment. Our experts are able to collaborate with cancer specialists within MD Anderson and at other organizations to provide the highest level of care for patients with lymphoma.

Watch this video of Daniel Gomez, M.D., on the benefits of proton therapy for lymphoma.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center