Specialized Approach to Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Diagnosis and Treatment

Our lymphoma specialists at University Hospitals (UH) Seidman Cancer Center in Cleveland manage non-Hodgkin lymphoma treatment through a very specialized approach. As one of the most common blood cancers, the prognosis and treatment of lymphoma is highly dependent upon determining the exact type and characterization of malignant cells and the extent of the disease.

As part of the hematologic malignancies tumor board, our lymphoma team determines the best course of treatment, keeping in mind the complexity of the disease and the unique needs of each patient. There are more than 30 distinct types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that grow at different rates. These lymphoma types are broken down into B-Cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma and T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. We consider the exact type and characterization of lymphomas as well as the extent of the disease before designing an individualized and effective treatment plan.

Understanding Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is the seventh most common cancer in the U.S. and occurs when lymphoma starts in the bone marrow, spleen or lymph nodes rather than in the white blood cells. These lymphomas usually spread to other parts of the body.

Although non-Hodgkin lymphoma symptoms vary from patient to patient, the most common ones include swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, groin or underarm, exhaustion, frequent fevers, unexplained weight loss, nausea, abdominal pain and shortness of breath.

Diagnosing Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

At UH Seidman Cancer Center, our lymphoma specialists take a focused approach to diagnosing and treating non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It is often detected during a routine doctor’s visit when a patient is describing their symptoms. There are several different tests that can be used to confirm a non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis including:

  • Blood and urine tests: Blood and urine tests are used to rule out infections or other diseases.
  • Bone marrow aspiration biopsies: In a bone marrow aspiration biopsy, a needle is inserted into your hipbone to remove a sample of your bone marrow so that it can be analyzed for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cells.
  • Lymph node tests: In lymph node tests, all or part of your lymph node is removed so that it can be evaluated for non-Hodgkin lymphoma cells.
  • Imaging tests such as x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs: Imaging tests are intended to look for the presence of cancer in your body.

Leading-Edge Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment

The type of lymphoma, stage and category of the disease and symptoms as well as a patient’s age and overall health will determine their non-Hodgkin lymphoma treatment. Some of the leading-edge treatments we offer at UH Seidman Cancer Center include:

  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the most common treatment used for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It uses drugs to kill cancer cells.
  • Immunotherapy: In immunotherapy, certain parts of your immune system will be used to fight the cancer.
  • Proton therapy: Proton therapy delivers high doses of radiation directly to the tumor without damaging the surrounding healthy tissue.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy is usually used in the early stage of non-Hodgkin lymphoma to alleviate symptoms.
  • Bone marrow transplants: Bone marrow transplants may be recommended if your condition does not respond to chemotherapy or returns. At UH Seidman Cancer Center, we offer autologous transplants, which use your own blood and allogeneic, which use cells from a donor.

Additionally, we offer non-Hodgkin lymphoma-specific clinical trials. These clinical trials evaluate new medical approaches, devices, drugs or other treatments and can give qualifying patients access to new therapies sooner.

Our UH Seidman Cancer Center team is available at a wide variety of locations across northeast Ohio to provide follow up care and support services for our patients.