MD Anderson is committed to helping people with non-Hodgkin lymphoma live longer, healthier lives – and we’re making great strides toward advanced therapies that minimize side effects.
Our Lymphoma and Myeloma Center has shaped the way lymphoma and myeloma are treated throughout the world.
We were leaders in many of the clinical trials that led to the treatments that are commonly used in lymphoma. The clinical trials that our group lead now may provide early access to treatments that eventually become the best new treatments for tomorrow.
We have found the most successful way to treat indolent (slow-growing) Non-Hodgkin lymphoma often is with strategies that limit or avoid the use of chemotherapy and have less impact on your body.
If you are diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, your doctor will discuss the best options to treat it. This depends on several factors, including:
- Type of lymphoma
- Stage and category of disease
- Your age and general health
Every lymphoma is different. There are over 60 different types of lymphoma and each one should be treated in slightly different ways. Every patient is different. Our experts focus only on taking care of patients with lymphoma. Your treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer will be customized to your particular needs. One or more of the following therapies may be recommended to treat the cancer or help relieve symptoms.
Chemotherapy kills fast-growing cells, including cancer cells. This is the treatment most often used for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. And since chemotherapy may lower certain types of blood cells, a transfusion of a type of drug called blood cell growth factors may be needed. Liposomal drug delivery is an advanced way of giving chemotherapy that may help it be more effective.
Radiation therapy uses focused beams of energy to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy may be used in early-stage lymphoma or to help symptoms such as pain. It is seldom the only treatment given.
Proton therapy delivers high radiation doses directly to the tumor site, with minimal damage to nearby healthy tissue. For some patients, this therapy results in better cancer control with fewer side effects.
The Proton Therapy Center at MD Anderson is one of the largest and most advanced centers in the world. It’s the only proton therapy facility in the country located within a comprehensive cancer center. This means this cutting-edge therapy is backed by all the expertise and compassionate care for which MD Anderson is famous.
Instead of attacking the disease itself, immunotherapy drugs help the body fight cancer. Sometimes they have fewer side effects than other treatments.
Immunotherapy for Non-Hodgkin lymphoma may include:
- Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell therapy
- Monoclonal antibodies including rituximab
- Biological therapies that develop antibodies to help the body fight the cancer
- Immune modulators, such lenalidomide, that modify the environment of the tumor cell and allow the immune system to kill the cancer
- Targeted therapies that attack cancer cells by using small molecules to block pathways cells used to survive and multiply
- Small molecule treatments
Stem cell transplantation: If non-Hodgkin lymphoma does not respond to chemotherapy or if it returns, your doctor may recommend a stem cell transplant. A stem cell transplant is a procedure that replaces defective or damaged cells in patients whose normal blood cells have been affected by cancer. Also, since chemotherapy often destroys healthy cells in the blood and bone marrow, patients who have certain types of chemotherapy may need stem cell transplants.
Watchful waiting: This approach involves closely monitoring non-Hodgkin lymphoma without active treatment. Sometimes this is appropriate for some patients with low-grade lymphomas.
MD Anderson patients have access to clinical trials offering promising new treatments that cannot be found anywhere else.
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