Radiation therapy is sometimes the main form of treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma when the condition is detected early. Alternatively, radiation treatment can be used to supplement other therapies if the condition is diagnosed in a more advanced stage. While generally not effective for targeting non-Hodgkin lymphoma cells that have circulated throughout the body, radiation therapy can be used to target clusters of cancerous cells that have developed in a specific location, such as the lymph nodes or the spleen.
Radiation therapy is a treatment that uses focused, high-energy beams to destroy cancerous cells. There are several different forms, including:
- External beam radiation therapy, or EBRT, in which the beams are delivered from a machine located outside of a patient's body
- Internal beam radiation therapy, or brachytherapy, in which a small radioactive device is implanted in a patient’s body to deliver continuous radiation over a short period of time
- Radiation therapy combined with immunotherapy, in which radioactive medications are taken orally and delivered directly to lymphoma cells by highly targeted immunotherapy agents, which are able to differentiate between healthy cells and cancerous cells
In some cases, non-Hodgkin lymphoma is treated with high-dose radiation therapy provided alongside high-dose chemotherapy just before a stem cell transplant. The radiation is delivered to the entire body to destroy as many cancerous cells as possible before an oncologist administers an infusion of new, healthy cells.
The most appropriate approach to radiation therapy can be different for every individual, which is why Moffitt Cancer Center is committed to providing tailored, patient-centric treatment. Our team consists of several malignant hematologists, radiation oncologists, radiation therapists and other advanced medical professionals who specialize in diagnosing and treating non-Hodgkin lymphoma, allowing us to collaboratively develop an individualized plan for each patient we treat. As a result, we're able to help our patients achieve the best possible outcomes while also maintaining a high quality of life.