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What is the treatment for mantle cell lymphoma?

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Most people with mantle cell lymphoma will begin treatment right after diagnosis and staging of the cancer. Your treatment may include:

Chemotherapy. These medicines work in different ways to kill cancer cells. You may get them in a pill or through an IV.

Immunotherapy. These drugs prompt your body's immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells. You often get it along with chemotherapy.

Targeted therapy. These medicines block proteins that cancer cells use to survive and spread.

Stem cell transplant. Your doctor may also suggest this treatment along with high-dose chemotherapy.

Stem cells are in the news a lot, but usually when you hear about them, they're referring to embryo stem cells used in cloning. The ones in a transplant are different. They're in your bone marrow and help make new blood cells.

There are two types of stem cell transplants. In autologous transplants, the stem cells come from your own body, rather than from a donor. Your doctor will give you a drug called a growth factor that causes your stem cells to move from your bone marrow to your bloodstream. Your doctor collects the cells from your blood. Sometimes they’re frozen so they can be used later.

After your doctor collects your stem cells, you'll be treated with high doses of chemotherapy or radiation that could last for several days. This can be a tough process because you may have side effects like mouth and throat sores or nausea and vomiting. You can take medication that brings some relief.

A few days after your chemotherapy is over, you may be ready to begin your stem cell transplant. You’ll get the cells through an IV. You won't feel any pain, and you'll be awake while it's happening.

It can take 8 to 14 days after the transplant for your bone marrow to start making new blood cells. You may need to stay in the hospital for a few weeks. During this time, you may also have a chance of getting an infection while your bone marrow gets back to normal, so your doctor may give you antibiotics to keep you from getting sick.

You may still have higher odds for getting an infection for several months after you get home from the hospital.

A second type of stem cell transplant is called an allogenic transplant. The process is similar, except the stem cells come from a donor. Close relatives, such as your brother or sister, are the best chance for a good match so your body doesn't reject the new stem cells or treat them like they’re attacking your body.

If that doesn't work, you need to get on a list of potential donations from strangers. Sometimes, the best chance for the right stem cells for you will be from someone who is in your racial or ethnic group.

For a small number of people who are otherwise well, have no symptoms, and have a slow-growing form of the cancer, doctors might suggest watchful waiting. During this time, your doctor will watch your health closely. For example, you might visit your doctor every 2-3 months and have tests every 3-6 months. If your lymph nodes get bigger or you start to get other symptoms, then your doctor may start treatment.

From: Mantle Cell Lymphoma WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "Types of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma."

Cancercare.org: "Mantle Cell Lymphoma and New Treatments on the Horizon."

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: "Get Information and Support," "Mantle Cell Lymphoma Facts."

Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School: "Lymph Node Biopsy."

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on February 03, 2019

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "Types of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma."

Cancercare.org: "Mantle Cell Lymphoma and New Treatments on the Horizon."

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: "Get Information and Support," "Mantle Cell Lymphoma Facts."

Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School: "Lymph Node Biopsy."

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on February 03, 2019

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What are common side effects of mantle cell lymphoma treatment?

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