What are the treatment options available for Lymphoma in India?
An experienced oncologist identifies the symptoms in the patient and accordingly orders a few tests to confirm lymphoma diagnosis. Based on the results that detect the type and stage of lymphoma, the extent of the cancer, the likely progression of cancer, and the possible side effects of the therapies or treatment, he or she devises a treatment plan tailored as per the individualized needs of the patient.
The doctor may advise a combination of the following treatment or therapies for the treatment of lymphoma in India:
Radiotherapy is the most preferred choice of treatment for Stage 1 and Stage 2 lymphomas. As the cancerous cells are confined to a specific area in Stage 1 and Stage 2, it is easy to kill these cells with the help of radiotherapy.
High-powered energy beams such as x-rays or proton rays are used to shrink the tumor by killing the cancerous cells. The patient is made to lie down on a table under the machine which directs the radiations on the body parts marked by a special material. Radiotherapy can also be used in combination with other therapies for the treatment of lymphoma.
Chemotherapy is the procedure used to manage tumor cells with the help of medicines and drugs. An aggressive chemotherapy approach is followed for the patients who may get cured completely. If the lymphoma is unlikely to get cured, the patient is kept on a moderate regime to produce long-term results. Aggressive chemotherapy includes the use of injections which are given intravenously, while moderate regime includes managing the condition with the help of oral medicines.
Stem cell transplant is also known as bone marrow transplant. The radiation treatment imparted as a part of the treatment plan may destroy the bone marrow, which is responsible for forming all types of cells in the body. The diseased bone marrow is replaced with a healthy bone marrow through a stem cell transplant.
Stem cell transplant is generally used in combination with chemotherapy or radiotherapy. High doses of chemotherapy or radiotherapy destroy the healthy WBCs. To bring the blood cell count back to the normal levels, stem cell transplant technology is used. Specialized stem cells are transplanted into the body of the patient. The transplanted cells get transported to the bone marrow where they build healthy new blood cells.
Monoclonal antibody therapy
This is a relatively less common type of treatment for lymphoma. Monoclonal antibodies are designed to find out the specific tumor cell in the body. These antibodies carry radioactive isotopes that destroy cancer cells by delivering radiation after getting attached to them.
This therapy is either used to manage the initial stage of the treatment or it can be given if the lymphoma recurs. Rituximab is a type of monoclonal antibody which attaches itself to the B-cells. The immune system of the patient can recognize this antibody easily and therefore, starts attacking it. As a result, the number of B-cells start decreasing in the body. This also affects the healthy B-cells, but the body can produce new healthy B-cells automatically within a few weeks.
Steroids are generally used in combination with chemotherapy to treat lymphoma in some of the patients. Steroids are given to make chemotherapy more effective. They can be given intravenously along with the chemotherapy course. But the administration of steroids should be limited to a short duration due to the associated side effects.