Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Treatment by Type - Now is the time

Back in the dark days of lymphoma diagnosis, all lymphatic cancers were "lymphoma" or "lymphosarcoma", one name for any cancer originating in the lymph system. As better diagnosic tools came about, most importantly histopathology (a microscope and trained person) they started realizing there were different types of cancer in the lymph system. Thus terms like Hodgkin's Disease and the Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. These were further divided into time into the 35+ types we know now.

Treatment depending on type has not kept up with the naming of new subtypes. There was a time when all were treated with similar drugs. Some responded, some not. Then they tried different treatments based on low grade(slow growing), medium grade, and high grade (fast growing) which helped a bit.

Now we're getting to more modern times. With better diagnosic techniques, like the lymphochip and cell analysis (all those "CD" markers like CD-20 on B-cells), an exact determination can be made for each person's disease. Hoo Yah for the patient.

Now the hard part has been matching treatments to each type. This seems to be making real progress only in the last couple years. This is where we need the drug research and approval process to work best. You can read previous blog entries as such new targeted treatments have progressed. But alot of work needs to still be done to ensure safe, effective treatments are found for each and every subtype.

The days of "one size (treatment) fits all" are long over. Let's hope the front line doctors keep reading the medical journals and realize this too.

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