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  1. Basics
  2. Symptoms
  3. Diagnosis
  4. Prevention
  5. Treatment
  6. Knowledge Center

Our Approach

At MD Anderson's Lymphoma and Myeloma Center, one of the nation's most experienced and skilled teams of experts focus their expertise on helping you fight non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Drawing upon a wide range of treatments for every stage of disease, as well as clinical trials of new and novel agents, physicians design a treatment plan that is uniquely yours.

Our goal is to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma with methods that are strong on the disease, but as gentle as possible on your body. We're constantly working to bring new treatments to patients, including targeted biological agents that help your body fight the cancer.

While some patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma can be successfully treated, for many the most-effective course is to keep knocking back the disease over a period of many years. In these cases, personalized long-term care is especially important. Our teams of specialized physicians, as well as support staff including nurses, physician assistants, dietitians, social workers and many others, work closely together – and with you – to give you higher chance for successful treatment.

Groundbreaking Research

MD Anderson has helped advance the treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in many areas, including development of new, leading-edge treatments. Our doctors recently pioneered Rituxan®, a vaccine that helps the body fight lymphoma. And we continue to research ways to improve your health and quality of life.

At MD Anderson's Lymphoma and Myeloma Center, you benefit from one of the most active research programs in the United States, which includes a prestigious federally funded SPORE (Specialized Program of Research Excellence) program. This means we are able to offer a wide range of clinical trials (research studies) for every type and stage of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma symptoms vary from person to person. They may include:

  • Painless swelling of lymph nodes in the neck, groin or underarm
  • Fevers
  • Heavy night sweats
  • Tiredness
  • Weight loss without a known reason
  • Severe itchiness
  • Reddened patches on the skin
  • Nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain
  • Coughing or shortness of breath
  • Headaches, concentration problems, personality changes

Symptoms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma also often differ by the type of disease. Low-grade (indolent) non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma develops slowly. Patients may have painless swelling of lymph nodes (usually in the neck or over the collarbone) but appear healthy otherwise. The swelling may go away for a while and then return. If low-grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma spreads outside the lymph nodes, there may be discomfort in the affected area.

Aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma grows quicker and tends to have more symptoms than low-grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain in neck, arms or abdomen
  • Fever and/or night sweats
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness in arms and/or legs
  • Confusion

These symptoms do not always mean you have non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. However, it is important to discuss any symptoms with your doctor, since they may also signal other health problems.

Accurate and precise diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma helps doctors choose the best course of action specifically for you. It plays a big part in your chances for successful treatment.

At MD Anderson, our group of experts is among the most experienced and skilled in the nation in diagnosing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. In fact, we are one of the few cancer centers that include hemopathologists, specialized doctors who focus on lymphoma and myeloma, on your care team.

With a high level of expertise, they use the most modern equipment to find out the precise extent of disease. This can make a huge difference in accurate diagnosis and successful treatment.

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Diagnostic Tests

If you have symptoms that may signal non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, your doctor will examine you and ask you questions about your health and your medical history. One or more of the following tests may be used to find out if you have cancer and if it has spread. These tests also may be used to find out if treatment is working.

  • Lymph node biopsy: A small piece of tissue is removed from a lymph node and looked at under a microscope. Sometimes the entire node is removed.
  • Imaging tests, which may include:
    • X-rays
    • CT or CAT (computed axial tomography) scans
    • PET (positron emission tomography) scans
    • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans
  • Blood tests: To determine if blood cells are normal in number and appearance and if blood chemistry is normal. If you have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, certain blood tests may help doctors determine your outlook.
  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy
  • Liver and kidney function tests
  • Echocardiogram: To evaluate the size and function of the heart.
  • Immunophenotyping: Cells from a lymph node, blood or bone marrow are examined with a microscope to determine what type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cells are present.
  • Pulmonary function test:  Finds out how well the lungs function.

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Screening

Cancer screening exams are important medical tests done when you’re at risk but don’t have symptoms. They help find cancer at its earliest stage, when the chances for successful treatment are best.

Unfortunately, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cannot be detected early by any standard tests. However, here at MD Anderson, we’re working to develop screening tests for those at risk.

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Risk Factors

Anything that increases your chance of getting non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a risk factor. Although scientists don’t know yet what causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, some factors seem to make you more likely to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. These include:

  • Gender: Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is slightly more common in men
  • Race: Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is slightly more common in white people
  • Living in a farming community. Some studies suggest that certain herbicides and pesticides may play a part in lymphoma, but this has not been proven
  • Bacteria or viruses, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV) and the bacterium Helicobacter pylori
  • Inherited syndromes

Not everyone with risk factors gets non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. However, if you have risk factors, you should discuss them with your doctor.

Our Treatment Approach

MD Anderson is committed to helping people with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma live longer, healthier lives – and we’re making great strides toward advanced therapies with less impact on your body.

For instance, we were instrumental in the pivotal clinical trial for Rituxan® (rituximab), one of the biggest developments in lymphoma treatment over the past decade. And we helped discover a way to vaccinate follicular lymphoma patients with proteins from their tumors, causing their immune systems to attack the cancer cells.

We have found the most-successful way to treat indolent (slow-growing) Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma often is with highly focused chemotherapy that has less impact on your body. Instead of using intense chemotherapy in an attempt to cure non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma totally, the most successful approach often is to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma so it goes into remission for extended periods.

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Treatments

If you are diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, your doctor will discuss the best options to treat it. This depends on several factors, including:

  • Type of lymphoma
  • Stage and category of disease
  • Symptoms
  • Your age and general health

Your treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer will be customized to your particular needs. One or more of the following therapies may be recommended to treat the cancer or help relieve symptoms.

Contact Us

Dr. E Borges Road, Parel, Mumbai - 400 012 India
Phone: +91-22- 24177000, 24146750 - 55
Fax: +91-22-24146937
E-mail : msoffice@tmc.gov.in (for patient care and queries) / hrd@tmc.gov.in(for administrative - HRD matters)

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