There have been many exciting advances in the field of lymphoma including CLL*
Until the mid-2000’s, treatment options for lymphoma were mostly limited to surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Now, people diagnosed with lymphoma and CLL often have newer, more targeted treatment options. The way lymphoma is detected and monitored during therapy is also changing. The purpose of this section is to help you understand advances in the treatment of lymphoma and what they mean for you.
Knowing the exact subtype of lymphoma via a tissue biopsy is critical before starting treatment
What do we mean by ‘newer’ drug treatments?
As researchers have learned more about the changes in cells that cause cancer, they have been able to develop newer drugs that specifically target these changes. These drugs are often referred to as targeted therapy. These drugs work differently from standard chemotherapy drugs and often have different (and less severe) side effects.
Rituximab (MabThera) was the first targeted immunotherapy drug used to treat lymphoma. Other targeted therapies have since been developed, some already in routine use and many in clinical trials (scientific studies that test medical treatments). More targeted treatments are being developed all the time as scientists find out more about the changes that cause cells to go out of control, resulting in lymphoma.
To learn more about the latest therapies for lymphoma visit the What's New section on this website. Also, don't forget to ask your doctor about clinical trials for your subtype.
*Lymphoma is the fifth most common cancer in Australia with more than 5,000 diagnoses every year (plus a further 1,100 per year for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), which despite its name is clinically recognised as a form of lymphoma.