Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Treatment

The primary treatment for non-Hodgkin's disease is chemotherapy, which uses drugs to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation therapy, or the use of high-dose X-rays or other high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors, sometimes is used. Bone marrow transplantation is being tested in studies of patients with advanced disease. The prospect for curing children is now about 70 percent overall.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It may be taken orally or may be administered into a vein or muscle by needle. Chemotherapy is called a systemic treatment because the drugs enter the bloodstream and can kill cancer cells throughout the body. Chemotherapy also may be injected by needle into the fluid that surrounds the brain or back to treat certain types of lymphoma that spread to the brain.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy, which uses X-rays at high doses in a very focused beam to kill malignant cells, is very effective in treating lymphomas. The side effects of this treatment vary depending upon which area of the body is being radiated.

Bone Marrow Transplant

Bone marrow transplant (BMT) is a newer treatment for lymphoma. Sometimes lymphoma cells become resistant to treatment with radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Very high doses of chemotherapy may then be used to treat the cancer. Because the high doses of chemotherapy can destroy bone marrow, marrow is taken from the bones before treatment. The marrow is then frozen and high-dose chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy is given to treat the cancer. The marrow that was removed is then thawed and returned by needle into a vein to replace the marrow destroyed by chemotherapy. This type of transplant is called an autologous transplant. If the marrow is from another person, the transplant is called an allogeneic transplant.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Cancer & Blood Disease

Oncology Clinic
1825 Fourth St., Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 476-3831
Fax: (415) 502-4372
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Treatment Center
1825 Fourth St., Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-2584
Fax: (415) 353-2600
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Blood & Marrow Transplant Program
1975 Fourth St., Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 476-2188
Fax: (415) 502-4867
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