Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Chemotherapy
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Chemotherapy for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Chemotherapy is a common part of the non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) treatment process. Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs designed to destroy tumor cells by impeding their growth and reproduction.
Your team of experts at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) provides leading chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients. This form of treatment may be used to fight all forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, including aggressive and indolent forms, and may be used to help prevent the disease from recurring.
Chemotherapy for NHL often consists of giving several drugs together in a set regime. Because each medication destroys tumor cells in different ways, a combination of drugs may make the cells more vulnerable to treatment. A common form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma chemotherapy used specifically to treat and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is CHOP chemotherapy, which is a combination of four chemotherapy drugs.
Depending on the regimen, chemotherapy may be administered in pill form, as an injection, or intravenously. You may receive chemotherapy alone, or in combination with other NHL treatments, such as immunotherapy and radiation therapy.
How We Support You
Your multidisciplinary care team at CTCA will support you before, during and after chemotherapy:
- Before chemotherapy for NHL, we will meet with you to answer your questions and review what you can expect from treatment, including how we’ll help you manage potential side effects.
- During chemotherapy, you can read, watch TV, talk with family or friends, or nap in a private lounge chair. You may also meet with a supportive medicine clinician during your infusion, such as a mind-body therapist or spiritual counselor.
- After chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, we’ll help you manage any side effects of treatment. To combat nausea, your oncologist may prescribe medication and your naturopath may recommend natural therapies. You also can visit our on-site salon for dealing with hair loss, should it occur.
Potential Side Effects of Chemotherapy for NHL
While chemotherapy destroys rapidly dividing cancer cells, it can also affect normal fast-growing cells, such as those in the hair, mouth, GI tract and bone marrow. Chemotherapy for non- Hodgkin lymphoma may also temporarily interfere with the ability of the bone marrow to produce adequate numbers of blood cells, resulting in various side effects.
Depending on the types of drugs administered and your individual response, some common side effects of chemotherapy for NHL include:
- Cardiotoxicity (heart muscle damage)
- Anemia (low red blood cell count)
- Neutropenia (low white blood cell count)
- Taste changes
- Neuropathy (pain, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet)
- Mouth sores
- Hair loss
- Sexual dysfunction
Helping You Manage Chemotherapy-Related Side Effects
Your NHL care team will use a combination of approaches to prevent or manage chemotherapy-related side effects throughout your non-Hodgkin lymphoma treatment. For example, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics as a preventive measure before you begin treatment.
Since chemotherapy can temporarily lower your blood cell counts, we’ll do routine blood tests to check the levels of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. If your counts are low, we may modify your treatment or use certain drugs to help stimulate blood cell production. You may also be given a transfusion to restore your counts to a normal level.
Additionally, therapies like nutrition therapy, naturopathic medicine, pain management and oncology rehabilitation can all help to reduce chemotherapy-related side effects and keep you strong so you can continue to participate in the activities you enjoy most. Mind-body medicine and spiritual support can improve your emotional well-being so you feel better throughout treatment.
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