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HIV, AIDS, and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

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Treating Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma continued...

These are different types of treatment you may need for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Radiation therapy involves using high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells. You may receive radiation from a machine outside your body. Or a radioactive substance may be placed inside your body. Although radiation may cause side effects such as fatigue, skin problems, and stomach upset, these are often short-lived. Long-term side effects are more serious:

  • Lung damage
  • Headaches or difficulty with thinking
  • New cancers

Chemotherapy is the use of special drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells. They may work by killing the cells or by keeping them from dividing. You may receive them by:

  • Mouth or by injection into a vein or muscle, reaching the whole body (called systemic treatment)
  • Placement directly into one part of your body (called regional treatment)

This is a common combination of medications used to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma:

These are some of the most common side effects of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma chemotherapy drugs:

  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Swollen and sensitive gums
  • Mouth sores
  • Hair loss
  • Numbness or tingling in hands or feet
  • Anemia and fatigue from low red-blood-cell count
  • Increased risk of infections from low white-blood-cell count
  • Easy bruising or bleeding from low platelet counts

Biologic therapy. This therapy uses substances from your body or made in a lab to prompt your immune system to help fight the cancer. Interferon, a hormone-like protein, and monoclonal antibodies, designed to fight cancer, are two types of biologic therapy used for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Watchful waiting. If your immune system is too weak to handle the lymphoma treatment, your doctor may suggest closely monitoring your condition without treatment unless symptoms change or worsen.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on August 17, 2014
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