External beam radiation therapy is a series of outpatient treatments to deliver radiation to the diseased cells accurately. Radiation therapy has been proven to be very successful at treating and curing lymphoma.
- Radiation oncologists deliver external beam radiation therapy to the lymphoma from a machine called a linear accelerator.
- Each treatment is painless and is similar to getting an X-ray. Treatments last less than 30 minutes each, every day but Saturday and Sunday, for several weeks.
- Involved field radiation is when your doctor delivers radiation only to the parts of your body known to have disease. It is often combined with chemotherapy. Radiation above the diaphragm to the neck, chest and/or underarms is called mantle field radiation. Treatment below the diaphragm to the abdomen, spleen and/or pelvis is called inverted-Y field radiation.
- Your radiation oncologist may deliver radiation to all the lymph nodes in the body to destroy cells that may have spread to other lymph nodes. This is called total nodal irradiation.
- Your radiation oncologist may also deliver radiation to the entire body. This is called total body irradiation. It is often done before chemotherapy and a stem cell or bone marrow transplant to eliminate any remaining diseased cells.
Radiation therapy may be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy or biologic therapy. You will work with your radiation oncologist to agree on a treatment plan that is best for you.