In treatment for lymphoma?

Your treatment will depend on the type and stage of your lymphoma, what parts of your body are affected, your symptoms and your general health. Sometimes lymphoma doesn’t need treatment straight away - this is called active monitoring or watch and wait. This page summaries some key treatments for lymphoma and explains where you get more information and support.

Learn more about your lymphoma treatment

Your treatment is planned and managed by a team of healthcare professionals - known as a multidisciplinary team (MDT) who are specialists in different areas. The aim of most lymphoma treatments is to send your lymphoma into remission: to reduce or eliminate it. 

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Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Many people with lymphoma have chemotherapy, but not everyone does. A course of chemotherapy usually involves several treatments or ‘cycles’, each followed by a rest period. A whole course of treatment can vary from several weeks to a number of months.

Radiotherapy machine

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy uses radiation to destroy cancer cells. You might have radiotherapy with the aim of curing your lymphoma or to control your symptoms. How many treatments or ‘fractions’ of radiotherapy you have can vary from a single treatment, to treatment 5 days a week over 3-4 weeks.  

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Watch and wait

Some types of lymphoma grow slowly and may not cause any problems, at least for a while. If this is the case for you, your doctor might suggest active monitoring - also called watch and wait or active surveillance. This is where you have regular check-ups with your medical team to monitor your health and to see how the lymphoma is affecting you. 

Hand holding a blood sample in a vial

Stem cell transplants

Your body constantly makes new blood cells from blood stem cells in your bone marrow. High doses of chemotherapy can cause permanent damage to your bone marrow. A stem cell transplant replaces blood stem cells so you can make the new blood cells your body needs. These can be your own stem cells (an autologous transplant) or they can be from a donor (an allogeneic transplant).

Man looking down microscope

Antibody therapy (including rituximab)

Antibody therapy involves giving antibodies that have been specially made in a laboratory to target an antigen on a cancer cell. It is sometimes known as immunotherapy and is a targeted therapy that affects cells more precisely than other treatments, reducing the effects on normal cells.

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Side effects of lymphoma treatment

Each treatment for lymphoma affects people differently and has a different set of possible side effects. Always talk to your medical team if you have any side effects - even if they seem minor. Side effects are usually temporary and often things can be done to help you cope with them. 

Clinical trials

Every potential new treatment for people with lymphoma needs to be tested. This is done though clinical trials – medical research studies. Clinical trials can offer access to another treatment when all standard options have been tried.

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Looking for support or someone to talk to?

You are likely to go through a wide range of emotions during and after treatment for lymphoma – we're here for you at every step.

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Get in touch

Our information and support team is here for you. Call our helpline weekdays 10am to 3pm on freephone 0808 808 5555, email us information@lymphoma-action.org.uk or use Live Chat in the bottom right hand corner.

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Personal stories

You might find it useful to hear from someone who’s been through a similar experience. We publish stories and videos of people affected by lymphoma so you can learn about their experiences and how they have coped.

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Buddy support

We can connect you with someone who has a personal experience of lymphoma and understands what you’re going through. You will be able to contact them over phone or email and you can get in touch whenever you are ready to talk.

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Live your Life

If you have recently finished treatment for lymphoma, or are on watch and wait, then our Live your Life programme offers workshops and support to help you find your 'new normal' and live well with and beyond lymphoma.

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Get involved

Whether you want to hold your own event, take on a challenge, raise awareness or volunteer your time there are many ways you can get involved to help make sure that no one has to face their lymphoma alone.

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