4 methods of treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a common type of cancer that is triggered in the lymphatic system. A part of the immune system, the vessels of the lymphatic system contain lymphocytes that fight against infections. When the body is affected by non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the lymphocytes are multiplied abnormally and lose their infection-fighting property. They also put one at an increased risk of suffering from different kinds of infections.

The treatment method employed for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma will majorly depend upon the general health and age of the patient. This is because some of the different treatment methods can exert too much strain upon the body health. In some cases, if the cancer is in its initial stage, then the affected part can be extracted through biopsy. However, if the same cannot be performed, then the patient may have to undergo the following treatment methods:

  • Chemotherapy:
    Chemotherapy is a form of treatment that is used for most kinds of cancers. With this treatment, medicine is used to kill the cancerous cells. Chemotherapy is typically combined with different therapies that include radiotherapy and biological therapy. The treatment is administered in a plethora of different forms and the same is dependent upon the stage of cancer. In most cases, chemotherapy is given through a drip that carries the medication directly into the vein or in the form of tablets. The treatment may be received over a period of a few months but there are several side-effects that are associated with it. The most common and damaging one includes severe damage to the bone marrow.
  • Radiotherapy:
    When the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma disease is in its early stage, radiotherapy is the most preferred form of treatment. The cancer is usually present in one part of the body and the treatment type involves the use of high-energy beams that destroy the cells. The duration of radiotherapy can last anywhere from 2-3 weeks. The side-effects of this treatment method are usually seen around the body area that is being treated. Typically, a patient may experience loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, tiredness, and soreness around the skin.
  • Monoclonal antibody therapy:
    Monoclonal antibody therapy is used to treat certain kinds of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A medication known as monoclonal antibody is administered as the only treatment or in combination with chemotherapy for better effectiveness. During the therapy, the medications attach themselves to the cancerous and healthy cells. The immune system, in turn, is signaled to kill the cells and upon completion of the treatment, the healthy cells return to the same level over a period.
  • Steroids:
    Steroids are found to bring about better effectiveness of other treatment methods, especially chemotherapy. Steroid medications can be taken in the form of injections or tablets, most often during the same period as chemotherapy. They also work by reducing the side-effects associated with chemotherapy. However, during the process, they do come with their own set of side-effects that include indigestion, agitation, sleep issues and increased appetite which subside post-treatment.

The treatment plan for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is mapped out after understanding the same with medical professionals who specialize in different aspects of the condition. A patient must have an in-depth discussion with the healthcare team regarding the side-effects and benefits of the treatment methods prior to making a decision.