Understanding Cancer


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.

What to expect before, during, and after radiotherapy treatment:

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

In more detail

Non-Hodgkin lymphomas begin when a type of white blood cell, called a T cell or B cell, becomes abnormal. 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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The Patient Pathway

First Specialist Appointment

At the first specialist appointment you will meet with your specialist radiation oncologist (RO) to discuss the proposed radiotherapy treatment approach and answer any questions and concerns you may have. Click read more to learn more and download information by treatment site e.g. breast, prostate.


At the orientation appointment a patient care specialist (nurse or radiation therapist) will explain the procedures in more detail and answer any concerns that you might have about ARO and your treatment. Click read more to learn more and download information by treatment site e.g. breast, prostate.


Before starting treatment, you will attend a simulation appointment to determine the optimal body position for receiving treatment and provide a detailed picture of the area to be treated.

First Day of Treatment

Please arrive 10-15 minutes before your allocated treatment time so we can greet you and allow you time to get changed for your treatment. Please bring an extra layer of clothing (e.g. cardigan or jacket) should you feel cold while you wait in the treatment reception area. Please report to the ARO reception desk. For free parking please refer to the information below. See location and parking for more information.

During Treatment

Weekly reviews with your radiation oncologist or one of our patient care team will be conducted to monitor any side effects and provide on-going support and advice as required. Click read more to learn more and download information by treatment site e.g. breast, prostate.

Last Week of Treatment

An appointment will be scheduled for you to meet with a member of our patient care team to answer any questions and to ensure appropriate care is organised after your last treatment visit. This may include regular monitoring of blood results, appointments for dressings and management of side effects.

After Treatment

Usually 2-6 weeks after your last treatment visit you will meet with your radiation oncologist or the doctor that referred you to ARO. Your GP will also be sent a report about your treatment and will continue to provide for your general health needs. 

You are welcome to contact our patient care team to answer questions or concerns that you may have about your treatment or possible side effects up to 2 weeks following your last treatment visit.  Please phone our nurses on 09 623 6585, email aronurses@aro.co.nz or make an appointment during business hours. 

Should you require support after 2 weeks, please contact the ARO Specialist Centre on phone 09 623 6587 or email specialistcentre@aro.co.nz. For all other health concerns, please contact your GP, usual healthcare provider or local emergency facility. Click read more to learn more and download information by treatment site e.g. breast, prostate. This includes information on possible side effects and self care advice by treatment site.