Lymphoma is a type of cancer that develops in the lymphatic system (lymph nodes) and can be classified as either Hodgkin's disease or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Because the lymphatic system runs throughout a person’s body, lymphoma can occur in several areas within the body.
Lymphoma is usually treated with chemotherapy followed by radiation therapy. When lymphomas occur in the chest near critical structures such as the heart, lungs or esophagus, it can be difficult to get the high doses of radiation needed to the tumor without causing damage to those sensitive areas. Proton therapy is used to create a treatment plan that precisely targets even the most difficult to reach lymphoma tumors while minimizing the damage to healthy tissues and vital organs.
Proton therapy is especially valuable in treating patients with lymphoma whose tumors are in the chest or involve the anterior mediastinum, as well as those whose tumors that have proven to be resistant to chemotherapy. For patients with chemotherapy-resistant tumors that require targeted high doses of radiation, proton therapy may be the only hope for curative treatment. Most patients tolerate the treatments extremely well and are able to continue to work and exercise during their treatment course and immediately after treatment is complete.