There are several different treatment methods that can be used in the treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The type of treatment used will depend on a number of factors, such as the aggressiveness of the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the general health of the patient, the stage at which the cancer is diagnosed, and the age of the patient at treatment. These factors may determine that some types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma treatment will be better tolerated by the patient and have a lower risk of adverse side effects. After a positive diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma has been obtained, the physician and the patient will discuss available treatment options and choose the treatment regiment that will be best for the patient.
In some cases, when the individual has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma but is not showing any symptoms or having adverse effects, the physician may recommended that treatment be delayed until the patient is experiencing adverse effects. This technique is called “watchful waiting.” Although many patients would express alarm at delaying treatment for cancer, there is a medically sound reason for this technique to be used. Many of the treatments used to control cancers are very destructive to the body due to the high levels of chemicals and medications that must be used. Individuals undergoing cancer treatments must be hospitalized for varying lengths of time and their lives are disrupted for months after treatment. By waiting until the patient is showing symptoms before beginning treatment, the patient retains their quality of life for as long as possible.
A common treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses high doses of chemicals and medications to kill the cancer cells in the body. Unfortunately, chemotherapy cannot distinguish between cancer cells and healthy cells, so many healthy cells are also destroyed during chemotherapy. In most cases, the patient will need to be hospitalized during the chemotherapy treatment and observed for a period of time afterwards for any complications. The drugs used in chemotherapy can be administered orally, intravenously, or as an injection into the spinal column. Although chemotherapy can kill a large number of cancer cells with each treatment, it typically does not kill them all, so additional rounds of chemotherapy may be needed.
Additional treatments for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma include radiation therapy, biological therapy, and stem cell transplantation. These treatments are used in cases where chemotherapy is either not a viable option or additional treatment is needed to control the condition. All cancer treatments carry a risk of adverse side effects and the side effects that may appear are dependent on the type of treatment administered. In most cases, the side effects from the treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are mild and can be easily managed by the patient and the attending physician. The younger the patient is, the better they will be able to tolerate the treatments for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and the faster they will recover. The treatments are intended to control the cancer, reduce the effects of the condition, bring the cancer into remission, and in certain cases, may be able to cure the condition.
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