Is Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Curable?
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is one of those cancers, which is having high survival rate. The non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, even in its advanced stage, is also curable. The factors responsible for complete cure of the disease includes age of the patient, stage of the disease, extent of the organs affected and the response of the patients to treatment.
Lymphoma is one of those cancers which are having a high cure rate. The new treatment options paved the way for the complete treatment of the disease with high survival rate and less chances of relapse. This complete treatment is not only assisted by the drugs and treatment strategies, but the most modern diagnostic techniques also helps in early diagnosis of the disease with precision, the spread of the disease and also the effect of the treatment on tumor. All these factors contribute to favorable prognosis. The Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is divided in to various stages on the basis of spread of diseases and the organs affected. This process is known as staging and is required to form a treatment strategy and evaluating the prognosis. There are four stages of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma with highly complex stage IV as the cancer is spread to vital organs such as lungs, liver and cerebrospinal fluid.
However, the 5-year survival rate at this stage is 50-55% concluding that this disease is curable even at a later stage. The International Prognostic Index defines five factors that determine the prognosis of the lymphoma. These factors include age of the patient, stage of the disease, extent of impact on extranodal organs, patient’s performance status and blood serum level of lactate dehydrogenase. It has been found that the Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is difficult to treat in patients having the age above 60 years as the body fails to respond to chemotherapy, which is a primary treatment in cancer. Further, the Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is difficult to treat at stage III and IV and an aggressive treatment strategy is required. The survival rate further depends upon the early diagnosis of lymphoma and the diagnostic methods used throughout the treatment for analyzing the effect of treatment. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is absolutely curable as various new treatment options are available in the hands of oncologists which are more specific than ever with lesser side effects and high tolerability and many more are in the pipeline of pharmaceutical companies. Thus, with the combination of various treatment options, with a goal of maximizing efficacy and minimizing side effects, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is curable with less rate of relapse.
The treatment strategy for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma depends on various factors including the age of the patient, the stage of the disease and its spread in the body. Following are the treatment options for the treatment of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and a combined treatment strategy is generally used by the oncologist:
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the main treatment for the management of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma as these are the drugs which are highly effective in killing the fast growing cancerous cells through various mechanisms of actions. Further, the new drugs are more specific to these cancerous cells and have a little impact on the normal cells thereby imparting relatively lesser side effects. Some of the drugs in this category include bendamustine, vincristine, gemcitabine and methotrexate.
Radiotherapy: Radiotherapy may also be combined with chemotherapy in curing Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. In radiotherapy, the cancerous cells are destroyed by the radiations. The prominent side effect of this therapy is skin burning.
Steroids: Steroids such as prednisolone and dexamethasone not only assist the chemotherapeutic drugs in their action but also reduces their side effects.
Antitumor antibiotics: Antibiotics such as doxorubicin are also used to treat Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Immunotherapy: Drugs such as rituximab not only activates the immune system for fighting against cancer cells but also themselves kills the cancer cells.
The treatment of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is highly effective with more specific drugs having improved efficacy with lesser side effects. The overall 5-year survival rate is approximately 70-75% and is set increase in the future due to various drugs in the pipeline showing promising results in the initial studies. Various treatments include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy and steroidal therapy.
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