The general treatments used for Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cancers are radiation therapy, chemotherapy and stem cell transplant, according to Mayo Clinic. Some other treatment options for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are medications that boost the immune system and radioimmunotherapy drugs that send radiation straight to the lymphoma cells.
During radiation therapy, the patient lies on a table while a machine directs a high-energy beam at precise locations on her body to kill the cancerous cells, explains Mayo Clinic. The duration of the therapy depends on the stage of the patient's lymphoma. It may cause hair loss and skin redness where the beams are directed.
While early-stage lymphoma patients may only receive radiation therapy, later-stage patients could also receive chemotherapy. This type of treatment involves injections, pills or both. The treatment travels through the bloodstream, and common side effects include hair loss and nausea, states Mayo Clinic.
A stem cell transplant is an option if a patient's body does not respond to other treatments. The process begins with healthy blood stem cells being removed from the patient and stored. Next, the patient receives high doses of radiation therapy and chemotherapy to kill the lymphoma cells. The stored blood stem cells are later thawed and injected into the bloodstream where they help the body build more healthy cells and bone marrow, according to Mayo Clinic.