Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

What Is the Recovery Period for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma?

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is one of the major types of lymphomas. We can then consider high-grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and low-grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, whereby in the latter, the lymphoma grows much slower than the high-grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The recovery period for a patient diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma will depend on several factors. This may include the stage of cancer, the affected cells, the treatment administered among other factors including other illnesses and immunity potential. Generally, the prognosis for lymphoma cancer is good, with better survival rates compared to other cancers. These rates are higher in the early stages of cancer and as it progresses into an advanced stage, the survival rates decline. Nevertheless, treatment can be administered and cancer controlled. It may take months or even years to recover from cancer, but the period varies from one patient to the other.

What Are The Treatments of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma?

Treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma will depend on the sub-type of the lymphoma, the stage, and extent of cancer, as well as the rate of growth. Chemotherapy is the major approach to treating lymphomas and for some patients, it may be combined with radiation therapy. Other than that, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma can also be treated using biological therapies, bone marrow (stem cell) transplant, surgery or a combination of these treatments. In chemotherapy treatment, the cancer-killing drugs are administered for a given period of time followed by a recovery period. For example, a patient may take the drugs daily, for five days, then after three weeks, the drugs are given once more. This is repeated for about six or eight cycles which translates to six or eight months depending on the duration between one cycle and the other.

Radiation therapy involves the use of radiation to kill the cancerous cells at the specific area with the lymphoma. It is repeated until the malignant growth(s) have significantly decreased in terms of size. After chemotherapy or radiation, one may undergo a stem cell transplant, which involves injecting new stem cells into the patient’s body. This is done so as to create a new immune system to fight against cancer. A bone marrow transplant is performed when cancer reoccurs, or if the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is in your bone marrow and many lymph nodes have been affected. Biological therapies are also involved with the immune system, whereby the patient is given drugs to boost their immunity, thus enhancing their immune functionality in fighting the cancerous cells. Surgery for lymphoma is not common and is usually performed when an organ has been badly affected or is completely damaged.

Side Effects Of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Treatment

The longer the period the side effects of treatment persist, the longer the period of recovery. In patients whom the lymphoma has not advanced, and basically is at stage one, the period of recovery can last for at least a year or more. On the other hand, for more advanced cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, it may take five years or more to fully recover. The common side effects of lymphoma treatments include; fatigue and tiredness, immune system impairment, and increased risk of infections. Managing the side effects of the treatment methods can prove beneficial to a lymphoma patient as it helps them recover their energy progressively. So, as time goes by, being cured of lymphoma and managing the consequences of the ailment, you will ultimately recover and be able to lead a normal life.

Conclusion

The recovery period for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma will be different for every patient. The major underlying factor is the treatment administered and the consequences of that treatment. The earlier treatment is started, then the recovery period will be much shorter compared to if treatment is given at a later time. In addition to that, the rate of growth of the lymphoma will also determine the period of recovery. This applies in cases of high-grade lymphoma, which can easily be treated and recovery achieved sooner than later. On the other hand, patients with low-grade lymphoma can live for years with cancer, since treatment cannot be administered immediately. This is mainly because standard treatment procedures are not effective in managing the lymphoma.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: November 9, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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