Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

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Treating Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma TOPICS

Palliative care for non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Palliative care (also called supportive care) is treatment aimed at relieving symptoms. Its main purpose is to improve your quality of life. It’s often given along with cancer treatment, but may be also used when cancer treatment is no longer working.

Sometimes, the treatments you get to control your symptoms are similar to the treatments used to treat cancer. For example, when lymph nodes become enlarged, they may press on nerves and cause pain. Radiation therapy to these areas may help relieve the pain. Pain medicines, ranging from ibuprofen and similar drugs to more potent medicines such as opioids, may also be given.

Other symptoms such as fatigue and low resistance to infections can be caused by low blood counts. Sometimes blood transfusions or treatment with drugs that boost new blood cell production are needed. Nausea and loss of appetite can be treated with drugs and high-calorie food supplements. If the lymphoma has spread to the lungs, patients may get short of breath. Oxygen may be used to help treat this symptom.

It’s important that you tell your health care team about any symptoms you are having, including any side effects from treatment. There are often ways to help control or lessen these symptoms. This is an important part of your overall treatment plan.

For more information on palliative care and getting help with side effects, see the “Palliative or Supportive Care” section of our website.

Last Medical Review: 03/27/2013
Last Revised: 07/30/2014