Chemotherapy is the main treatment for most types of NHL. It uses cytotoxic drugs to destroy cancer cells. Cytotoxic means toxic to cells.
Chemotherapy can be given into a vein (intravenously) or taken as tablets. With both these methods, the chemotherapy gets into the bloodstream and is carried to lymphoma cells wherever they are in the body.
Most people have chemotherapy as an outpatient. Sometimes just one chemotherapy drug is given, but most treatments involve having a combination of two or more chemotherapy drugs in a single day. This is then followed by a rest period of a few weeks without chemotherapy. The rest period allows your body to recover from any side effects before the next treatment.
The day(s) of treatment and the rest period make up a cycle of treatment. A full course of chemotherapy usually involves several cycles of treatment and lasts a few months. During this time, you will have regular check-ups at the hospital. About 2–3 months after starting chemotherapy, you will usually have a CT scan. This is to see how well the NHL is responding.