Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Planning treatment

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

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Your specialist works with a multidisciplinary team (MDT) to recommend treatment options for you. The specialist will explain these to you, and together you will agree on a treatment plan.

Our Canrefer website has information about MDTs in NSW.

It is a good idea to take someone with you to appointments to support you and help you remember what is discussed.

What you need to know

Lymphoma treatment options

The best treatment for you depends on several things:

  • the type of lymphoma you have
  • the stage of your lymphoma
  • your age and general health
  • your own choices and preferences.

Your specialist will explain the options to you.

Some cancer treatments can affect fertility.

​If having children in the future is important to you, talk to your doctor about this BEFORE you start treatment. 

Types of treatment for lymphoma

The main types of lymphoma treatment are:

  • chemotherapy
  • targeted therapy
  • immunotherapy
  • stem cell transplant
  • radiation therapy (radiotherapy).

Chemotherapy is the main treatment for lymphoma (Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin). Sometimes it is used in combination with other types of treatment.

Targeted therapy and immunotherapy can be used to treat more aggressive or advanced disease, or lymphoma that has come back after previous treatment (relapsed).

A stem cell transplant may be recommended for some people. Others may have palliative care to manage symptoms, or take part in clinical trials which test new cancer care options.

Purpose of treatment for lymphoma

The purpose of a treatment is known as the treatment intent.

Depending on your situation, the purpose can be:

  • curative – to get rid of the cancer completely
  • to achieve a remission – a period when there is no cancer
  • control – to stop the cancer getting worse
  • palliative – to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.

What to ask or talk about

Understanding your treatment options

Your specialist should explain:

  • what they think is the best treatment for you
  • how helpful they expect it to be
  • where you can have your treatment
  • any side effects you may get
  • whether there is a clinical trial you could take part in
  • any costs involved with treatment.

This will help you to make an informed decision about what treatment to have.

Making treatment decisions

Some key points to remember when making treatment decisions:

  • Make sure you have all the information you need to make your decision, including what costs will be involved.
  • Ask the specialist to explain more clearly if you don’t understand the choices.
  • Don’t be rushed into decisions.
  • Take time to think about your choices and discuss them with your doctors and your family or friends.
  • If you are not happy with the choices you are offered, you can ask to see another specialist for a second opinion.​

checklist Checklists

Use our checklists to find helpful tips or questions to ask.

Next steps

Treatment plan

Once you and your specialist have agreed on your treatment, a treatment plan will be made. 

The treatment plan gives details of:

  • the different treatments you will have
  • the order you will have them in
  • where you will have each treatment
  • what each treatment will involve
  • how long the treatment will take. 

Starting treatment

Before you start treatment, make sure you know:

  • the date and time of your first treatment
  • where you need to go
  • if you need any tests beforehand
  • whether there is anything you should do to prepare
  • when you next need to see your specialist.

Where to get help

There are people you can talk to for more information or support.

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