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What are the treatment options for stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma?

Treatment options for stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma depend on whether the disease is diagnosed as indolent or aggressive. A diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that is not made until stage 4 is almost always indolent due to the lack of symptoms. If it is an indolent form, your doctor may opt not to treat at that time, asking instead for you to come in for periodic monitoring checkups. If treatment is needed it could take several forms—targeting regions with radiation, immunotherapy (using drugs that use the body's immune system against cancer cells), chemotherapy, targeted therapy (using drugs designed to target cancer cells), or in unusual cases surgery. Even with such treatment, the lymphoma can return in other parts of the body as much as a decade afterward, so long-term monitoring will be necessary for some time.

The aggressive form of stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma calls for correspondingly aggressive treatment. Treatment will usually be some combination of chemotherapy using cancer-fighting drugs and targeted radiation therapy. Targeted therapy or immunotherapy may be recommended. Stem cells may be used to supplement a particularly high-dose regimen of chemotherapy.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.