Radiation Therapy for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Doctors at NYU Langone may consider using radiation therapy as well as medical therapies to manage non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Radiation therapy uses energy beams that penetrate the skin, killing cancer cells in the body. Some forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma are more responsive to radiation therapy than others.

External Beam Radiation Therapy

Doctors may use external beam radiation therapy to treat slow-growing or more aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma that’s found in just one or two groups of lymph nodes. During this therapy, a machine delivers radiation from outside the body to treat tumors.

The dose and location of the radiation is carefully planned by your doctor to target tumors and avoid healthy tissue. This helps to reduce side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Treatments are given in fractions, meaning in doses that generally occur once daily, five days a week, for several weeks to reduce these side effects.

Whole Body Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy may be given to the whole body to help destroy cancer cells, along with high-dose chemotherapy, as part of stem cell transplantation. Radiation therapy sessions are scheduled usually once or twice daily for several days before the transplant.

Radiation Therapy Clinical Trials

Researchers at NYU Langone are studying the use of radiation therapy in combination with medications that stimulate the immune system to attack non-Hodgkin lymphoma that does not respond to previously available therapies. Your doctor can advise you on whether this experimental combination treatment may be right for you and, if so, how to enroll in a clinical trial.