Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Overview

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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.

About treatment

In recent years, much progress has been made in treating non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The treatment options depend on the kind of lymphoma, its stage, and the prognostic factors mentioned in the section "Staging of non-Hodgkin lymphoma." Of course, no 2 people are exactly alike, and treatments are often tailored to each person. It is often a good idea to get a second opinion. This can give you more information and help you feel more confident about the treatment plan you choose.

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, such as:

  • 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.

It is important to discuss all of your treatment options as well as their possible side effects with your doctors to help make the decision that best fits your needs. (See the section “What are some questions I can ask my doctor about non-Hodgkin lymphoma?”) If time permits, it is often a good idea to seek a second opinion. Your doctor should be willing to help you find another cancer doctor who can give you a second opinion.

Last Medical Review: 08/27/2014
Last Revised: 01/06/2015