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Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Treatment

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma treatment often depends both on the kind of lymphoma and the stage of the illness, but many different components may be important as well. NHL is usually divided into 2 main categories, based on whether it begins in B lymphocytes or T lymphocytes. Your doctor can inform the type of lymphoma you have using a microscope and looking for the appearance of the cells after special stains and markers are done on the tissue. There are several sub-types of NHL and each can have different treatments, depending on the stage and markers.

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Risk Factors and Diagnosis

Age is the most common type of risk factor between Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The average age of someone who is diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is 60 or older, while most Hodgkin lymphomas occur in people ages 15 to 24, or over 60.

To provide an accurate diagnosis, the following may be performed by your doctor:

  • Physical exam: Involves physically checking all lymph nodes
  • Urine and blood test
  • Lymph node biopsy test
  • Bone marrow biopsy test
  • Imaging test: May include CT, MRI, PET scans and/or X-rays

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Treatment and Tissue Classification

Overall, 50 to 60% of patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma have a survival rate of five years or longer with no recurrences. Which treatment is used depends on a person’s age and health, as well as on whether or not the cancer cells have certain genetic abnormalities. While numerous factors determine what the best remedy is for NHL, probably the most important ones are stage and tissue classification.

Treatment options include chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapies, and radiation therapy, which involve x-rays, photons and protons that target the cancer cells.

Chemotherapy is a widely used remedy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma that involves utilizing medicine to kill most of the cancer’s cells. If the lymphoma does not go away fully with therapy (remission) or if it reoccurs after this treatment; medical doctors will often suggest another chemo routine. Many different regimens can be utilized, and they might or might not include other treatment drugs.

Another form of treatment is a bone marrow or stem cell transplant, which combines the use of chemotherapy and radiation to repress the bone marrow and then replace it with healthy bone marrow stem cells harvested from the patient or from donors. Other drugs that are commonly use during treatment include the monoclonal antibody rituximab, that attaches to B cells and makes them more noticeable for the immune system to fight. Immunotherapy such as CAR-T cells are also used in certain lymphomas.