Understanding, treating lymphoma

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Editor's note: September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month. Consider sharing this story to raise awareness of lymphoma, one of the most common types of blood cancer.

By DeeDee Stiepan

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of the body's germ-fighting network. The main two subtypes are Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Because of breakthrough research, this once fatal diagnosis has been transformed into a curable condition.

Watch this "Mayo Clinic Minute" video to hear Stephen Ansell, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic hematologist, discusses the different treatment options for lymphoma:

"The cancer in this case is the immune system. So, often we're trying to get the immune system to fight against the cancer. But in this case, the challenge is the cancer is the immune system itself," says Dr. Ansell.

Treatment depends on the type and stage of lymphoma, and may involve chemotherapy, immunotherapy medications, radiation therapy, a bone marrow transplant or some combination of these.

"In the last 10 years, we've learned that you can actually activate the patient's immune system and have the immune system target the cancer, and that may actually be as effective and sometimes more effective than just using a kind of a nonspecific chemotherapy approach," says Dr. Ansell.

Recent advancements in how lymphoma is treated has helped give more patients hope.

"Treatment is highly successful in the majority of patients," says Dr. Ansell. "Even if the first time around, there are challenges ― there are novel therapies that are coming along or that are already here ― that can impact the outcomes substantially."

____________________________________________

For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was either recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in a nonpatient care area where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

Learn more

Learn more about lymphoma and find a lymphoma clinical trial at Mayo Clinic.

Join the Blood Cancers and Disorders Group on Mayo Clinic Connect.

Also read these articles: