Lymphoma is cancer that starts in the lymph glands or other organs of the lymphatic system. Some types of cancer can spread to lymph tissue, but cancers that start in these places and then spread to the lymph tissue are not lymphomas.

There are many different types of lymphoma and the treatment varies for the different types. One type is Hodgkin disease. The rest are called non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL). Auckland Radiation Oncology most commonly treats patients with NHL.

For more information on treatment of Hodgkin’s disease click here

In more detail

Non-Hodgkin lymphomas begin when a type of white blood cell, called a T cell or B cell, becomes abnormal. The cell divides again and again, making more and more abnormal cells. These abnormal cells can spread to almost any other part of the body. You may be at increased risk if you have a weakened immune system or have certain types of infections.

There are nearly 25 different types of NHL. Some of them behave very differently from others. The treatment of all NHL is not the same but depends on the type and behavior of the particular type.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma can cause many symptoms, such as:
  • Swollen, painless lymph nodes in the neck, armpits or groin
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fever
  • Soaking night sweats
  • Coughing, trouble breathing or chest pain
  • Weakness and tiredness that don't go away
  • Pain, swelling or a feeling of fullness in the abdomen

Your doctor will diagnose lymphoma with a physical exam, blood tests, a chest x-ray, and a biopsy. Chemotherapy is usually the main treatment. Radiation and other therapies may be added to chemotherapy in some situations for added benefit. If you don't have symptoms, you may not need treatment right away. This is called watchful waiting.
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Side effects of radiation therapy

Each person’s experience with radiation treatment for lymphoma is different and will depend on your general health and other treatments you’re receiving.

Your treatment team will help you understand the side effects of your particular treatment, but these could include:

  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • sore throat
  • inflammation of the lungs
  • nausea or vomitting
  • diarrhea
  • skin irritation and redness