Chemotherapy is the main treatment for lymphoblastic lymphoma. It is usually treated more intensively than other types of lymphoma. You may be referred to a specialist centre for treatment. The treatment is similar to the treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. We have more information about ALL.
Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells. It can be given into a vein (intravenously), or as tablets. Chemotherapy may also be given directly into the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord (intrathecal chemotherapy).
Some people have stem cell treatment.
Radiotherapy is sometimes given to the brain and spine if the lymphoma has spread.
Chemotherapy treatment is usually divided into three phases: induction, consolidation and maintenance.
This is given to destroy as many of the lymphoma cells as possible. You will be given a combination of different chemotherapy drugs weekly for a number of weeks.
This is a very intense phase and you’ll need to stay in hospital for most of the time.
This is the next phase. You will have less intense doses of chemotherapy to destroy any remaining lymphoma cells. It is usually given over several months and you can have this as a day patient.
Continuing therapy (maintenance) chemotherapy
This is given to reduce the risk of the lymphoma coming back after treatment has finished. It's a less intensive course of chemotherapy that may last for a couple of years and is given to you as an outpatient.
Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells, while doing as little harm as possible to normal cells. Sometimes chemotherapy is combined with radiotherapy to the brain and spine if there are lymphoma cells in the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.
Stem cell treatment (transplants)
Some people with lymphoma may have treatments using stem cells from a donor. Stem cells are a special type of blood cell that can make all other types of blood cells. This is called a donor (allogeneic) stem cell transplant.
Steroids are drugs that are often given with chemotherapy to help treat lymphomas. They also help you feel better and can reduce feelings of sickness (nausea).