How treatment is planned

The main treatments for Hodgkin lymphoma are chemotherapy and radiotherapy. A team of health professionals meets to plan your treatment. The treatment you have will depend on:

  • the type of Hodgkin lymphoma you have
  • the stage of your Hodgkin lymphoma
  • your age and general health
  • which parts of your body are affected
  • the results of your blood tests.

If you have nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin lymphoma (NLPHL), your doctor may sug-gest that you delay having treatment. Instead you will have regular tests and appointments to monitor the lymphoma. This is called watch and wait.

Before you have any treatment, you need to give permission (consent) for the hospital staff to give you it. If you decide not to have treatment for the lymphoma, you can still have treatment to help control any symptoms. You do not have to explain your decision. But if your team understand, this will help them give you the information you need.

How treatment is planned

Usually, a team of specialists called a multidisciplinary team (MDT) meets to plan your treatment.

The MDT may include:

  • haematologists and oncologists – these are doctors who specialise in treating lymphoma 
  • a radiologist – this is a doctor who analyses scans and x-rays
  • a clinical nurse specialist, who will make sure you get help and support throughout your treatment.

It may also include other specialists, such as a pharmacist, dietitian, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, psychologist or counsellor.

Treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma.

The main treatments for Hodgkin lymphoma are chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The treatment you have will depend on:

  • the type of Hodgkin lymphoma you have
  • the stage of your Hodgkin lymphoma
  • your age and general health
  • which parts of your body are affected
  • the results of your blood tests.

Treating classical Hodgkin lymphoma

If you have early-stage classical Hodgkin lymphoma, you will usually be treated with chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy. If the lymphoma is more advanced, chemotherapy is usually the main treatment but you may also have radiotherapy.

Most people won’t need any further treatment to get rid of the lymphoma. However, sometimes lymphoma comes back or there may still be signs of it after treatment. You might need more treatment if this happens. We have more information about treating Hodgkin lymphoma that comes back.

Treating NLPHL

If you have nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin lymphoma (NLPHL), your doctor may suggest that you delay having treatment. Instead you will have regular tests and appointments to monitor the lymphoma. This is called watch and wait.

If you start treatment, you may have radiotherapy or chemotherapy to treat NLPHL. Some people have both treatments. Other people will have a targeted therapy such as rituximab. This is a common treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. 

NLPHL may come back, sometimes after a long period of time, and can be treated again with chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Rarely, NLPHL can change into a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. If this happens, you will have treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma instead. We have more information about treatments for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

An image of Linda, affected by non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Lymphoma - watch and wait

In this cancer information video, Dr Robert Marcus explains how patients with lymphoma are regularly monitored until treatment starts. This is called watch and wait. Linda talks about her experience.

About our cancer information videos

Lymphoma - watch and wait

In this cancer information video, Dr Robert Marcus explains how patients with lymphoma are regularly monitored until treatment starts. This is called watch and wait. Linda talks about her experience.

About our cancer information videos


Giving your consent

Before you have any treatment, your doctor will usually ask you to sign a form. This form gives permission (consent) for the hospital staff to give you the treatment. No medical treatment can be given without your consent. Before your doctor asks you to sign the form, they should give you full information about:

  • the aims of the treatment
  • the type and extent of the treatment
  • its advantages and disadvantages
  • any significant risks or side effects
  • any other treatments that may be available.

You are free to choose not to have the treatment. If you decide not to have treatment for the lymphoma, you can still have treatment to help control any symptoms. A doctor will record your decision in your medical notes. You do not have to give a reason for not wanting treatment, but it can help to let the staff know your concerns. This will help them give you the information you need.

Back to Who will be involved in my treatment decision?

Getting a second opinion

There are many reasons for wanting a second opinion about your treatment. Speak to your specialist or GP.