There are many forms of cancer, one of which is lymphoma. This condition attacks the body’s lymphatic system, which consists of mostly white blood cells. The lymphocyte (a type of white blood cell) collects in your lymph nodes, tonsils, spleen, and the bone marrow. Under normal healthy conditions, the primary purposes of your lymphatic system is to fight off infection and disease. Choosing the best treatment options for lymphoma will depend largely on the for of lymphoma someone experiences.
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma is pretty common in the older population (those who are middle-aged or older). In these cases, while the cancer may be located in one area of the body, it will generally be found throughout. This is because the malignant lymphocytes travel through the body’s system in much the same way as a normal cell can. The result is that wherever these lymphocytes collect, the growth of the cells will eventually overtake that part of the body.
Hodgkin Lymphoma is usually found in younger people. The malignant cells in this form of lymphoma contain a very specific type of lymphocyte, which is often referred to as Reed-Sternberg cell.
Choosing Your Treatment
There are many different types of treatments to choose from. Before deciding on the best treatment options for lymphoma, you need to first know what type of lymphoma you have, the stage it’s in, and your overall general health. Your doctor will discuss these treatments in more detail, but here are a few options.
1. Biologic Therapy
Biologic therapy gives your immune system a well-needed boost. Those that use Monoclonal Antibodies use drugs like Rituxan, which target the lymphoma cells directly. Radioimmunotherapy makes use of radioisotope drugs. They are often referred to as “guided missiles” for their ability to single out cancer cells and destroy them. Interleukin 2, meanwhile, is a medicine known to activate a person’s immune system, thereby giving it a better chance of fighting off the cancer. And there are vaccines that work to prevent the cancer from developing in the first place.
Chemotherapy is often used to kill cancer cells and reduce the size of the tumors that have developed. While chemo has been very effective in killing off the cancer cells, it has been known to attack healthy ones as well, which can lead to some pretty nasty side effects.
3. Radiation Therapy
This type of treatment uses radiation to kill the cancer cells. The radiation is usually focused on the area of the body where the cancer is located.
For more extreme cases, where the high doses of chemo have already begun to destroy the lymphoma cells and the bone marrow where new blood cells are produced, the patient may be in need of cell transplants. This is to assist the bone marrow to regenerate and renew blood cells. The hope is that by giving the patient immature stem cells they will mature into healthy red and white blood cells to ward off the growth of cancer.
Of course, these are not the only treatments you can find for lymphoma. There are others to consider. It will be up to the patient to decided on the type of treatment that will work best for him. As long as the decision is made under the guidance of a qualified medical doctor, it’ll be easy to decide on the best treatment options for lymphoma that will work best in each case.