Lymphoma is a curable disease. The treatment and the survival rate depend upon the stage in which the condition is diagnosed and the age of the patient. Various treatment strategies exist and the physician with its own discretion, use the strategies with high efficacy and minimum side effects.
Can Lymphoma Be Completely Cured?
The lymphoma, if diagnosed in the early stages can be cured. However, to get completely free from lymphoma, it is essential that the patient responds to the treatment strategy. In the early stage lymphoma, the chemotherapy involving ABVD and BEACOPP programs are highly effective in curing lymphoma and increasing the survival rate of the patients. The survival rate of the patient depends upon the type of lymphoma, the stage in which the lymphoma has been detected and the rate of relapse of the disease. Due to the highly sophisticated diagnostic techniques such as FDG-PET scans, the tumors are now readily diagnosed.
Due to biological drugs and the introduction of new therapies such as the stem cell transplant and antibody, the rate of survival is increasing. The research is undergoing to provide the best possible cure to the lymphoma patients and also to maintain the health of the people who survived this disease. The administration of the advanced therapy leads to the survival of almost 70 to 80% of the people suffering from lymphoma. However, if the lymphoma gets metastasized, the survival rate is drastically reduced. Thus, the underlying factor is to diagnose the lymphoma in its early stage through the symptoms presented and starting the treatment as soon as possible to increase the chances of survival.
The treatment of the disease depends upon the stage of lymphoma. Also, oncologist will examine the type of lymphoma and the organ affected by lymphoma. The treatment strategy also depends upon the age and other medical issues such as concurrent disease. Following are the treatment strategies that can be used in the treatment of lymphoma:
- Chemotherapy: The chemotherapy is performed with the cytotoxic drugs which targets and kill the cancerous cells. Generally, the combination of drugs with synergistic action is chosen and the side effects are kept at the minimum along with the improved efficacy of the treatment. The drugs which can be used in chemotherapy for lymphoma are Adriamycin, bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine.
- Radiotherapy: The radiotherapy may either be curative or palliative. The former relates to treating lymphoma and the latter is used to control symptoms. The frequency of radiotherapy depends upon how aggressively the treatment is required. Some patients require only a single treatment while patients with later stage lymphoma requires multiple sessions.
- Immunotherapy: These are the drugs which categorically targets the cancerous cells. They kill these cells by stopping them from growing or dividing. They also increase the functioning of immune system.
- Antibody therapy: Antibodies either kills cancerous cells of their own or they help in increasing the efficacy of the immune system to destroy malignant lymphocytes. The antibodies may be used in combination of chemotherapy for lymphoma.
- Steroidal therapy: Steroid therapy has many implications. First, they kill the cancerous cells. Also, they increase the efficacy of chemotherapy. They reduce the side effects occurring due to chemotherapy and improve the well-being.
- Stem cell transplantation: The treatment of lymphoma through chemotherapy destroys the bone marrow. Bone marrow is a spongy area in the bone that forms blood cells such as RBC, WBC and platelets. Thus, stem cell transplant is required in this condition.
- Surgical intervention: Surgery is required in cases when the patient is not responding to chemotherapy or the lymphoma has been spread to other organs.
With the sophisticated diagnostic techniques and the advanced therapy, lymphoma, which was once difficult to treat, has a high survival rate. The treatment such as chemotherapy, steroids, radiation therapy and immunological drugs are effectively treating the condition. Research is ongoing on to increase the survival rate and also to improve the quality of life of those who had survived.
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