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:

Explore The Patient Pathway

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. 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. 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.


At the treatment planning 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 or your treatment.


During the days following your orientation and treatment planning appointment our team of experts (physicists, radiation therapist planners and your radiation oncologist) work together to develop the ideal treatment plan for you. This involves a highly sophisticated planning software system and review process to guarantee safe and effective delivery of treatment. Depending on the site and complexity of the treatment, this stage can take up to two weeks.

First Day of Treatment

You’ll need to arrive 10-15 minutes before your allocated treatment time so that we can greet you and to give you time to get changed for your treatment.

If you are driving, we recommend you enter Gate 3, 98 Mountain Road and drive up the ramp to the mid level car park. Please walk across the link bridge to Auckland Radiation Oncology (ARO). Please report to the ARO reception desk. 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.

Last Week of Treatment

An appointment will be scheduled for you to meet with a member of our patient care team 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.

Following Treatment