photo of senior woman stretching at home

1. Quit smoking. Studies show that smoking cigarettes puts you at a higher risk for follicular lymphoma. It also raises your chances of dying from the disease.

2. Take vitamin D. It’s important to check your vitamin D level before treatment. One study found that people with low vitamin D levels before follicular lymphoma treatment didn’t do well. They also are more likely to relapse quicker than those with healthy levels of vitamin D.

3. Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help during treatment for follicular lymphoma. A couple of studies found that exercise during chemotherapy for lymphoma greatly improved a person’s quality of life. Stick to moderate activities such as strengthening movements, cardio, balance, coordination, and flexibility activities. You can try things like:

  • Mowing the lawn or cleaning the house
  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Dancing
  • Water aerobics
  • Golf
  • Squatting
  • Sit-ups
  • Push-ups
  • Resistance-band training
  • Stretching
  • Tai chi
  • Pilates
  • Yoga

4. Protect yourself from germs. Your risk of infection is higher with lymphoma. It isn’t possible to protect yourself completely from infections. But there are some things you can do to lower your risk:

  • Stay away from germs when possible. Don’t be around sick people, and don’t share cups or other personal items.
  • Always wear gloves when you garden or clean.
  • Wash your hands after you touch animals or cook.
  • Keep your household clean.
  • Stay on top of your personal hygiene.
  • If you shave, use an electric shaver instead of a razor.
  • Wear shoes outside to protect your feet from cuts or wounds.
  • Keep cooked and uncooked food separate. Cook and store your food at the proper temperatures.
  • Always wash your hands before you eat.


5. Eat healthy foods. A nutritious diet can help keep you healthy mentally and physically. During follicular lymphoma treatment, a healthy diet can also help you better tolerate treatment, like chemotherapy. You should keep a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, dairy, vitamins, minerals, fruits, and vegetables on your plate.

It’s best to stick with lean and grilled meats instead of fatty and fried options. Some studies suggest that a lot of red and processed meat can lead to a higher risk of cancer. Experts recommend that you get no more than 70 grams of processed or red meat a day. If you don’t eat meat or dairy, there are many vegan and vegetarian options that will help you meet your nutritional needs.

6. Stay away from unclean and raw food. Treatment for follicular lymphoma can lower your immune system. This can put you at risk for illnesses from food. To make sure your food is safe:

  • Keep your hands, all counters, dishes, utensils, and cutting boards clean.
  • Wash your fruits and vegetables before peeling or eating them.
  • Swap out sponges and dish towels often.
  • Don’t rinse off raw meat or poultry before you cook it. This can spread bacteria to your sink or counter.
  • Use different cutting boards, dishes, and utensils when you prepare raw meat, poultry, or fish.
  • Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs (and the juices from them) out of contact with food that you won’t cook.
  • Only marinate food in the refrigerator.
  • Thaw frozen foods in your refrigerator or microwave instead of on your kitchen counter.
  • Put all your food away properly right after you go grocery shopping.
  • Look at the expiration dates on all of your food. Check to see if any of the food has spoiled and throw it away if it is or if you’re unsure.
  • Use a food thermometer to see if your meat is cooked fully.

7. Stay hydrated. It’s important to drink plenty of liquids during treatment. Experts usually suggest around 6-8 glasses each day. Water is best, but it can be any type of drink except alcohol. Just be careful with tea, coffee, and sodas because these drinks usually have a lot of caffeine.

8. Reduce sleepiness. Lymphoma treatment may cause you to feel very tired. This can make daily activities very difficult. To fight the fatigue, start an exercise routine to keep you energized. You can also think of the activities that make you more sleepy and avoid these until you feel more awake. If this doesn’t help, ask your doctor about other ways to help end your fatigue.

Show Sources

Photo Credit: FG Trade / Getty Images


Lymphoma Action: “Diet and Nutrition” “Exercise and Physical Activity,” “Infection: Risk and Prevention.”

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: “Healthy Eating.”

Cancers: “Associations between Smoking and Alcohol and Follicular Lymphoma Incidence and Survival: A Family-Based Case-Control Study in Australia.”

University of Rochester Medical Center: “Low Vitamin D Linked to Worse Prognosis in Type of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.”

Follicular Lymphoma Foundation: “Wellbeing.”