Follow-up after lymphoma treatment

After treatment for lymphoma, you will have regular follow-up appointments. Your doctor usually examines you and asks if you have any symptoms. You may have blood tests taken.

After lymphoma treatment

At the end of your treatment for lymphoma, you will have a meeting with your doctor or specialist nurse. They will explain:

  • how often you will have follow-up appointments
  • any possible signs of the lymphoma returning that you should be aware of

Your specialist doctor or nurse may give you and your GP a letter with this information and a list of the treatments you had. This is called a treatment summary.

When will I have follow-up appointments?

How often you have follow-up appointments depends on:

  • the type of lymphoma you had
  • the treatment you had
  • your situation.

Your specialist doctor or nurse will explain what to expect.

To begin with, your appointments may be every 3 months or so. After 2 years, you may have fewer appointments. Or you may stop having appointments.

Instead of appointments, some people are asked to get in touch when they need to see their lymphoma team. You are given advice on what to look out for and when to book an appointment, if needed.

If have any concerns in between appointments, you can always contact the hospital. You do not need to wait until your next appointment.

At your follow-up appointments

Your doctor will usually examine you. You may have blood tests and have your weight checked. You will not usually have scans, unless you develop symptoms that need to be checked.

Your doctor and nurse will want to know how you are feeling. They will also want to check that you are recovering from any side effects. Appointments are a good time for you to talk to your doctor or nurse about any concerns you have.

Many people find they get anxious before appointments. This is natural. It can help to get support from family or friends.

Macmillan is here to support you. If you would like to talk, you can:

Signs of lymphoma coming back

Sometimes lymphoma comes back. This is called a relapse or recurrence. If lymphoma comes back, it is usually discovered when symptoms develop. Your doctor or specialist nurse will tell you what to be aware of.

Possible signs and symptoms include:

  • new lumps or swellings
  • heavy drenching sweats at night
  • unexplained high temperatures, over 38°C (100.4°F)
  • unexplained weight loss
  • extreme tiredness
  • general itching or a rash that does not go away
  • a cough or breathlessness that does not get better.

You may have other new symptoms that are worrying you. If you have any symptoms, it is important to have them checked. Contact your specialist doctor or nurse for advice. They can arrange for you to have an appointment if needed. Lymphoma that comes back can often be treated again.

About our information

  • References

    Below is a sample of the sources used in our lymphoma information. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at cancerinformationteam@macmillan.org.uk

    National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Blood and bone marrow cancers. NICE Pathways. Last accessed 3 December 2020.

    Hodgkin lymphoma: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up; European Society for Medical Oncology (2018).

    Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: diagnosis and management; NICE Guideline (July 2016).

    Newly Diagnosed and Relapsed Follicular Lymphoma: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up; European Society for Medical Oncology (2020).

  • Reviewers

    This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editor, Professor Rajnish Gupta, Macmillan Consultant Medical Oncologist.

    Our cancer information has been awarded the PIF TICK. Created by the Patient Information Forum, this quality mark shows we meet PIF’s 10 criteria for trustworthy health information.