Because Waldenström's macroglobulinemia is a slow-growing, chronic type of lymphoma, you may need care for an extended time. Your treatment may include a series of several therapies.
Working together and with you, our team of experts painstakingly plans your treatment, utilizing the most advanced and effective treatments, as well as therapies that help with side effects of the disease and treatment. Many times we are able to offer clinical trials (research studies) of new treatments for Waldenström's.
Our Waldenström's Macroglobulinemia Treatments
If you are diagnosed with Waldenström's, your doctor will discuss the best options to treat it. This depends on several factors, including the extent of the disease and your general health.
Your treatment for Waldenström's macroglobulinemia 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: This often is the most effective treatment, and a combination of drugs usually is used. MD Anderson offers the most up-to-date and effective chemotherapy options for Waldenström's.
Radiation therapy: New radiation therapy techniques and remarkable skill allow MD Anderson doctors to target Waldenström's macroglobulinemia tumors more precisely, delivering the maximum amount of radiation with the least damage to healthy cells.
Immunotherapy: On the cutting edge of new treatments, immunotherapies to treat Waldenström's may include:
- Monoclonal antibodies, including Rituxan® (rituximab)
- Biological therapies that develop antibodies that destroy tumor cells
- Proteasome inhibitors, such as Velcade® (bortezomib)
- Immune modulators, such as thalidomide and lenalidomide, that modify the environment of the tumor cell and allow it to die
- Targeted therapies that attack cancer cells by using small molecules to block pathways cells us to survive and multiply
Stem cell transplantation: If Waldenström's macroglobulinemia does not respond to chemotherapy or if it returns, a stem cell transplant may be recommended. MD Anderson's stem cell transplantation program is among the most active and advanced in the nation.
Plasma exchange: If you develop symptoms because your blood is too thick, plasma can be removed and replaced with normal plasma from a healthy donor. This quickly relieves the symptoms until chemotherapy or immunotherapy can destroy the Waldenström's cells that are causing the buildup of abnormal protein.
Watchful waiting: Your doctor carefully monitors the disease and your symptoms, suggesting treatment if needed.
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