Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph system, a blood cancer in which the lymphocytes (white blood cells) grow uncontrollably at an alarmingly high rate and impair the functioning of lymph nodes.
The following options are available to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma:
1. Radiation Therapy/Radiotherapy: This cancer/NHL treatment employs X-rays or gamma rays to kill cancer cells. It is a local NHL treatment (like surgery) as the radiation is directed at the tumor/cancerous region.
• External-Beam Radiotherapy – a machine is used to direct radiation to the cancer.
• Internal Radiotherapy – a radioactive implant is placed in the cancer-affected area. The implant may be temporary or permanent.
• Systemic Radiotherapy – radiation source is given through a capsule or a drink or an injection. Involves some safety measures until the radioactivity drops to a low level.
2. Chemotherapy: Drugs are used to kill the cancer cells or to prevent them from dividing.
• Regional Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy drugs affect only the cancer cells in the affected area.
• Systemic Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy drugs are taken orally or are injected. So, they can target cancer cells in the entire body.
• Combination Chemotherapy – Several anticancer drugs are simultaneously used in the treatment. Commonly used combinations include cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone.
3. Targeted Therapy: By using special drugs/antibodies/substances, this cancer treatment identifies and attacks cancer cells without affecting normal cells. An example is monoclonal antibody therapy.
4. Watchful waiting: The condition of the patient with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is closely monitored. No NHL treatment is given until certain symptoms manifest or change.
For more on non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, see below:
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