Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma treatment depends very much on the individual patient. There is a vast array of choices of tried and true treatments, and novel new therapies. And the list grows every year.
Of course having so many treatment choices can make this just that much more confusing for the patient who is trying to figure out what is the best choice to make. Perhaps the most important point to remember is that in most cases there are several equally effective treatments that can be used, and it is up to the patient and their doctor to choose the one they are both most comfortable with. A second opinion is highly likely to yield different suggestions, but don't let that scare you. It is quite common.
The treatment your doctor recommends will only be made after a careful examination of all your tests. Early stage disease may be successfully treated with radiation therapy alone. Most patients do not present at early stage though, so single agent chemotherapy or combination chemotherapy is more common. Patients with large tumours will often have chemotherapy and radiation to the large tumour.
The United States National Comprehensive Cancer Network publishes a Clinical Practice Guidelines document which outlines the treatment decision tree that represents their expert opinion on how to treat NHL. This should give most people a good idea of what to expect from their own medical team.
Click on the links on the left menu for information about the various treatment options.
No patient should overlook the option of participating in a clinical trial. These are an important choice for all cancer patients. Not only do you have the opportunity to receive treatment that may be more effective than those currently available, but you also contribute to the future of other cancer patients by letting researchers learn from your experience.
Virtually all clinical trials test a new treatment against the best existing treatment to see if they can improve upon the existing treatment. Placebo's are never used when testing cancer treatments. Placebo's might be used when conducting a trial that does not affect the potential life or death of the patients. For example a placebo could be used, versus a new drug to control nausea, vomiting, or other cancer treatment side effects.
There are a number of questions you must consider carefully before participating in any clinical trial.
- What are the goals of the trial?
- What phase trial is it?
- What results have been achieved so far?
- What are the costs to the patient if any?
- What ratio of patients get the new treatment and the control treatment?
- Will I know whether I get the trial treatment or the control treatment?
- Is it a blind or double blind trial?
- If I do not respond during the trial what options to I have for further treatment?
- If I am in the control group and don't get the trial drug, and I fail to respond do I have the option to exit the trial but still get the trial drug?
To find a clinical trial near you just go to our Clinical trials page by clicking on the Clinical Trials Search link on the left.