- How is Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia treated?
- Chemotherapy for Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia
- Biological therapy or immunotherapy for Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia
- Plasmapheresis for Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia
- Stem cell transplantation for Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia
- Radiation therapy for Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia
- Clinical trials for Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia
- Complementary and alternative therapies for Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia
- When to treat people with Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia
- More treatment information for Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia
Radiation therapy for Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. This type of treatment is used sometimes to treat early stage non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). It may also rarely be used to shrink an enlarged spleen or lymph nodes if they are causing symptoms in Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia (WM).
The type of radiation therapy most often used to treat NHL and WM is called external beam radiation. It involves focusing radiation from a source outside the body. The treatment is much like getting an x-ray, but the radiation is more intense. The procedure itself is painless. Before the treatments start, the radiation team takes careful measurements to determine the correct angles for aiming the radiation beams and the proper dose of radiation. Each treatment lasts only a few minutes, although the setup time — getting you into place for treatment — usually takes longer. Most often, radiation treatments are given 5 days a week for several weeks.
Possible side effects
Immediate side effects of radiation therapy may include sunburn-like skin problems, fatigue, and low blood counts. Other side effects depend on the area being treated. Radiation of the abdomen may cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Radiation to the head and neck area can lead to mouth sores and trouble swallowing. Often these effects go away a short while after treatment is finished.
A rare long-term side effect of radiation is a new cancer developing in the treated area.
Last Medical Review: 01/31/2012
Last Revised: 01/31/2012