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Dr Lim Soon Thye, Head of Division and Senior Consultant, Division of Medical Oncology, National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), a member of the SingHealth group shares on treatment of lymphoma.

Painless swelling of the lymph nodes accompanied by persistent fever, drenching sweat and/or unexplainable weight loss are some of the symptoms indicating lymphoma cancer.

Treatment of lymphoma

Lymphoma treatment can include the following modalities:

  • Chemotherapy: A drug treatment given orally or injected into the hand veins to kill cancer cells. Each course of treatment is given at regulated intervals to allow the body to recover. The drugs circulate throughout the body to reach cancer cells even when they are widespread.
  • Radiation therapy: A localised treatment using high-energy rays to kill lymphoma cells wherever the rays are directed. The area may be confined to the affected lymph node or organ, or may encompass a wider area such as the neck, chest and under both armpits. This treatment can be administered alone or combined with chemotherapy.
  • Stem cell transplant: This procedure lets you receive higher doses of chemotherapy or radiation to kill cancer cells that may not be eliminated with standard doses. Healthy stems cells from your bone marrow (capable of producing new blood cells) are first collected and frozen. After a high-dose chemotherapy treatment which kills most white blood cells (including the healthy ones), stems cells are reintroduced into your body and help rebuild your immune system.
  • Biological therapy: A form of therapy using products to boost the body’s own immune system to fight the cancer. One example is the use of monoclonal antibodies. These antibodies attach themselves to B cells, making cancerous B cells more visible to the body’s immune system so that they can be destroyed. Although non-cancerous B cells will be targeted as well, your body is capable of replacing them. This form of therapy should only be considered when conventional treatments are deemed ineffective.

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