Treatments for non-Hodgkin lymphoma

If you have non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), your healthcare team will create a treatment plan just for you. It will be based on your needs and specific information about the cancer. When deciding which treatments to offer for NHL, your healthcare team will consider:

  • the type of NHL
  • the stage of the cancer
  • the grade – if the NHL is indolent (low grade, slow growing) or aggressive (high grade, fast growing)
  • your prognostic factors
  • your age
  • your overall health
  • if you have already been treated for NHL

Expert review and references

  • American Cancer Society. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. 2014: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003126-pdf.pdf.
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology. Lymphoma Non-Hodgkin Overview. 2014: http://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/lymphoma-non-hodgkin/view-all.
  • BC Cancer Agency (BCCA). Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. 2014: http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/PPI/TypesofCancer/NonHodgkinsLymphoma/default.htm.
  • Faber EA, Vose JM, Armitage JO, Bierman PJ . Diagnosis and treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma of adults. Wiernik PH, Goldman JM, Dutcher JP, Kyle RA (eds.). Neoplastic Diseases of the Blood. 5th ed. Springer; 2013: 47: 1027-1047.
  • Freedman AS . Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Hong WK, Bast RC Jr, Hait WN, et al (eds.). Holland Frei Cancer Medicine. 8th ed. People's Medical Publishing House; 2010: 115:1645-1648.
  • Freedman AS, Jacobson CA, Mauch P, Aster JC . Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, & Rosenberg SA. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015: 103:1552-1583.
  • Manson SD & Porter C . Lymphomas. Yarbro, CH, Wujcki D, & Holmes Gobel B (eds.). Cancer Nursing: Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett; 2011: 60: pp. 1458-1512.

Treatments for indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Learn about treatments for indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma that include watchful waiting, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy.

Treatments for aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Learn about treatments for aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma that include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation therapy and stem cell transplant.

Chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Chemotherapy is commonly used to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Learn how and when chemotherapy is used, the drugs used and side effects of chemotherapy.

Radiation therapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Radiation therapy is often used to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Learn how and when radiation is used and side effects of radiation therapy.

Targeted therapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Targeted therapy is usually used to treat B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). It uses drugs to target specific molecules (such as proteins) on or inside cancer cells. These molecules help send signals that tell cells to grow or divide. By targeting these molecules, the drugs stop the growth and spread of cancer cells while limiting harm to normal cells. Targeted therapy may also be called molecular targeted therapy.

Immunotherapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Biological therapy is used treat certain types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Learn how and when biological therapy is used and side effects of biological therapy.

Watchful waiting for non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Watchful waiting may be used to treat indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Learn about watchful waiting and when it might be offered as a treatment.

Surgery for non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Surgery is rarely used to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Learn about the types of surgery that may be done to treat NHL.

Stem cell transplant for non-Hodgkin lymphoma

A stem cell transplant is sometimes used to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Learn about the types of transplants and when a transplant might be done.

Follow-up after treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Follow-up after non-Hodgkin lymphoma treatment varies. Learn about follow-up appointments and the procedures and tests that may be done.