Medically reviewed by
Sreenivas Rao, MD
McLeod Oncology and Hematology Associates
Some types of cancer – such as lung or breast cancer – begin in a specific place in the body. Lymphoma – cancer of the lymph glands — is different.
“Lymphomas can arise in any area of the body,” says McLeod Oncologist Dr. Sreenivas Rao. “The face, inside the mouth, inside the chest, in the breast, in the colon, in the GI tract, in the retro peritoneum (the space between abdomen and the back abdominal wall and the posterior abdominal wall that contains the kidneys and associated structures), in the back or in organs like the liver, the kidneys, the bones and the heart. This cancer can be anywhere, because the body has lymph glands everywhere.”
Lymphomas respond favorably to chemotherapy. Some lymphomas are potentially curable, thanks to many advancements in oncology, specifically immunotherapy, using antibodies or T cells targeting special proteins on the surface of lymphocytes. Sometimes radiation is part of the treatment, depending on the location, the size of the tumor and the stage of the disease. However, unlike other kinds of solid tumors, we don’t remove lymphomas by surgery, largely because we know that they respond favorably to chemotherapy and immunotherapy. We can also incorporate stem cell transplantation as a treatment option for lymphoma.
Hodgkin lymphoma at an early stage (1 or 2) has a very high chance of response and eventual cure – as high as a 90% cure rate. With the diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (depending on the stage of the disease), we are able to cure more than 50% of patients. For mantle cell lymphoma, outside of a transplant for a more advanced disease, the cure rate or good response rate is in the range of 30%.
The last several years have been remarkable in oncology, including advances in the treatment of hematologic malignancies, such as lymphomas.
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