Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

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Treating Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma TOPICS

How is non-Hodgkin lymphoma treated?

This information represents the views of the doctors and nurses serving on the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Information Database Editorial Board. These views are based on their interpretation of studies published in medical journals, as well as their own professional experience.
The treatment information in this document is not official policy of the Society and is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your cancer care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.
Your doctor may have reasons for suggesting a treatment plan different from these general treatment options. Don’t hesitate to ask him or her questions about your treatment options.

General treatment information

Once non-Hodgkin lymphoma has been diagnosed and staged, your cancer care team will discuss treatment options with you. Several different types of treatment can be used against non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The treatment options depend on the type of lymphoma and its stage (extent), as well as the other prognostic factors. Of course, no 2 patients are exactly alike, and standard options are often tailored to each patient’s situation.

The main types of treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma are:

In rare cases, surgery is also used.

Based on your treatment options, you may have different types of doctors on your treatment team. These doctors may include:

  • A hematologist: a doctor who treats disorders of the blood, including lymphomas.
  • A medical oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with medicines.
  • A radiation oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with radiation therapy.

Many other specialists may be involved in your care as well, including nurse practitioners, nurses, nutrition specialists, social workers, and other health professionals. Learn more about this in our document Health Professionals Associated With Cancer Care.

It’s important to discuss all of your treatment options as well as their possible side effects with your doctors to help make the best decision for you. (See the section “What should you ask your doctor about non-Hodgkin lymphoma”). In choosing a treatment plan, consider your health and the type and stage of the lymphoma. Be sure that you understand all the risks and side effects of the various treatments before making a decision. If time permits, it’s often a good idea to seek a second opinion. Getting a second opinion can give you more information and help you feel confident about the treatment plan you choose. Your doctor should be willing to help you find another cancer doctor who can give you a second opinion.

The next few sections describe the types of treatment used for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. This is followed by a discussion of the typical treatment options based on the type of lymphoma, stage, and other prognostic factors when these are important.

The “Additional resources for non-Hodgkin lymphoma” section also includes a list of other, more detailed materials on the different types of cancer treatments and their side effects.


Last Medical Review: 08/26/2014
Last Revised: 09/15/2014