A Comprehensive Guide to Lymphoma Treatment Options
The diagnosis of something as serious as lymphoma can be very scary, but sometimes being equally menacing is the necessity to choose a treatment option. With so many choices, a guide can be very helpful.
How to choose
There are a few important characteristics that are crucial in determining what type of treatment is best.
These include, but are not limited to, what type of lymphoma you have, whether or not it is aggressive, the stage of your disease, your overall health status, the molecular and genetic features of your disease, and, of course, your personal goals and preferences.
What doctors treat lymphoma?
A good place to start is to find your doctor, but of course, you'll have to know which kind to look for. Hematologists are doctors who treat blood disorders, which include lymphomas. Medical oncologists are doctors who treat cancer with medicines, and radiation oncologists are doctors who treat cancer with radiation therapy.
Depending on your type of lymphoma and desired course of treatment, you will likely visit one of those doctors.
However, you will encounter other crucial medical professionals in your journey, such as physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, nutrition specialists, and more.
Active surveillance is usually only recommended to those who have indolent, or slow-growing, lymphoma. So, if you are not experiencing any symptoms, instead of proceeding with a particular type of treatment, instead your doctor may recommend to simply keep a lookout for signs of change within regular physical exams, imaging studies, blood test, etc.
Many patients who are under active surveillance go many years without needing any type of treatment. However, if the type of lymphoma becomes more active, then it will be time to decide on a treatment plan.
Often what comes to mind when one thinks of cancer treatment, chemotherapy has proven to be an effective approach for treating and even curing patients who have non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It has been around for multiple decades, and operates by attacking the swiftly dividing cancer cells within the body.
For those who have aggressive B cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a chemotherapy treatment by the name of R-CHOP is frequently recommended. That name is based on the mixture of medicines within it: rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin hydrochloride, vincristine sulfate, and prednisone. R-CHOP can be taken by itself or combined with other forms of treatment, such as surgery or radiation therapy.
New strategies are in the works that take into account how and why lymphoma develops, leading researchers to wonder what the most effective method of attack would be.
Drugs that are biologically targeted are able to disable molecular pathways that enable the lymphoma to expand and divide. As a result, these drugs have an advantage of being more effective, while less toxic, than traditional chemotherapy.
You may be interested in joining a clinical trial with biologically targeted drugs.
Read on to learn more about other lymphoma treatment options and their latest advancements.