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Treatment for Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) varies from no treatment at all ("watch and wait") when the disease is slow growing, to chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy or a combination of these.

Patients with slow-growing NHL may be watched carefully when they are having no bothersome symptoms. Chemotherapy may be used to control symptoms as needed. Chemotherapy is a treatment that uses a group of medicines that destroy diseased cells or stop them from growing. Slow growing lymphomas tend to respond to treatment, but chemotherapy alone cannot cure these types of lymphoma. 

Radiation therapy is also often part of the treatment for NHL, especially if the disease is in an early stage and it’s limited to a small area. Radiation therapy may be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy. 

For other patients with aggressive NHL, especially those diagnosed in stage 3 or 4, stronger chemotherapy using a combination of drugs is typically used. 

Bone marrow or cord blood transplant usually becomes a treatment option when chemotherapy does not work well enough to create a complete remission, or when chemotherapy works for a while but the disease returns.

Learn more about transplant and other treatment options