Charlene, Lymphoma can sometimes come back after successful treatment. This
is called ‘relapse’. Relapse means that the lymphoma has come back
after going into complete remission (no evidence of lymphoma). In the case
of low-grade non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL), it might mean the lymphoma has
flared up after being stable (staying the same) for some time. Although a
relapse can be very distressing, many people are
treated successfully again.
is natural to feel worried about your lymphoma relapsing. While in
remission, you might find that you are more sensitive to aches, pains and other
bodily sensations than you used to be. Many people feel particularly anxious in
the lead up to follow-up appointments. As part of your follow-up, your
doctor usually checks for signs of relapse.
last did you have a following-up visit?
you are in follow-up after successful treatment for your lymphoma you should:
your follow-up appointments
what symptoms to look out for
any concerning symptoms to your doctor.
may be no evidence of lymphoma on your tests and scans after treatment.
However, it is still possible that a small number of abnormal cells remain.
These cells can cause a relapse.
treatments are usually most effective at killing fast-growing cells. Some of
the slow-growing cells in low-grade lymphoma may ‘escape’ treatment. Relapse
happens when these cells build up. This is why relapse is generally more likely
in low-grade lymphomas.
might come back where it was before or it could affect another part of your
body. You might have the same symptoms as before or different symptoms.
Your doctor should tell you what to look out for. Contact your treating
physician if you have any symptoms you are worried about between
appointments. He/she can reassure you or they might bring your
your doctor thinks you might have relapsed, you are likely to have tests,
including blood tests and scans. If your lymphoma has relapsed, your doctor
needs to find out how the lymphoma affects you, just as they did when you were
you have low-grade lymphoma, you might have another biopsy to check if
your lymphoma has transformed (changed) into a faster-growing type.
In most cases, the lymphoma won’t have transformed but it is important to find
out if it has. Transformed lymphoma needs different treatment.
do not hesitate to make an appointment with your treating physician to have the
‘lump’ in your neck checked out. (MCH).
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