Does Lymphoma Go Into Remission?
For patients who have successfully undergone lymphoma treatment, in the end, they may be told that their cancer is in remission. Yes, lymphoma can go into remission, the major question though is how long it will last in remission? Well, if you have stage 1 or stage 2 lymphoma, there is a high probability that once you have undergone treatment, you’ll be in remission. At this time, the cancer is not active anymore. In cases of complete remission, then the cancer is completely gone. If the cancer is under partial remission, it means that cancer has been significantly reduced. In the latter scenario, partial remission, cancer can relapse, but time is the factor that determines when that would happen. Nonetheless, the longer the period one has been in remission, the less likely that the lymphoma will relapse.
Treatment of lymphoma depends on various factors such as the type of lymphoma one is diagnosed with and the stage of cancer. Other than that, the rate of growth of the cancer is also important. This is because, for slow-growing or indolent lymphoma, they are not curable with standard measures of treatment. Otherwise, for patients with fast-growing lymphoma can be treated using a combination of radiation and chemotherapy. It is commonly referred to as a one-two punch which kills cancer cells hence resulting in remission. Other treatment options for lymphoma include; biologic therapy which involves stimulating the immune system to fight against the cancerous cells, stem-cell transplant for damaged bone marrow and surgery to remove affected lymph nodes and organs as well.
What Then After Remission?
Many patients after being diagnosed with cancer are unable to continue with their normal lives especially during treatment. For months, one is subjected to chemotherapy and radiation therapy which often leaves you weak and incapable of doing things you were accustomed to before. So, when one receives news that their cancer is in remission, it’s only normal that they have questions on what that means for their future. For example, are they cured of cancer, will it relapse, any more procedures required after remission?
Well, it may take time to get back to your normal life, but you can live one day at a time. Start with small activities at home, do what you love and basically, be happy that the cancer is no longer threatening your life. On the other hand, though, you will need regular follow-ups to monitor the success of the treatment and response of cancer. At first, you may need to visit a cancer specialist (oncologist) on a monthly basis for checkups and progress reports. As time goes by, the period may increase to 3 months, then 6 months and finally, once a year at least. During your appointments, your oncologist will want to know how you feel and in some occasions, perform blood tests and x-rays to determine the presence or absence of cancer.
In addition to getting back on your feet, ensure you eat healthily and let your body recover from cancer and treatment as well. In addition to that, ensure you get the necessary check-ups and vaccines to avoid any fatal infections. Also, ensure that you manage stress in an effective way since stress can have a toll on your general health. The survival rate for patients diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma is between 82-90% for a five year period. As for patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the rates are a bit lower at 70-75% chance of survival.
Lymphoma going into remission is good news for a patient who was prior diagnosed with cancer. However, you cannot help but wonder what next. If cancer has totally gone into complete remission, then you can start on a new journey of life. On the other hand, if the cancer is in partial remission, you’d have to live with the worry of when it might come back. Regardless of the situation, it is important to remember that you should not wallow in fear but take it as a new opportunity in life. If you have regular appointments with your oncologist, follow their recommendations and live happily, then the relapse of cancer might just be the least of your worries.