Far beyond the initial laboratory tests and deciding what treatment strategy to adopt.
During the entire course of the treatment and several years following its completion, there are many other issues arising, such as:
- coping with side effects from treatments,
- possible remission and relapse,
- understanding the concepts of disease response,
- and funding the treatment plan.
All these issues should be understood and addressed as soon as possible after diagnosis.
Lymphoma treatment may be long and complicated.
Every type of treatment (radiation, chemotherapy, stem cell transplantation, and antibodies) could bring about its own complications and issues.
There are several known side-effects of undergoing such lymphoma treatments.
They include hair loss, fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, sore mouth, and sore skin.
Red blood and white blood count could also fall as such cells may be killed along with the cancer cells targeted by the treatment.
In some cases, there is nausea, vomiting, and difficulty or pain in swallowing and drinking.
Lymphoma treatment could be significantly expensive financially.
Several treatments and drugs may be covered under health insurances and government grants but uncovered costs could still be substantial.
The patient might be able to take advantage of financial aid from the government which is specifically designated for cancer patients.
There are also non-government organizations (charities) that provide financial support to lymphoma and other cancer patients.
The patient should understand treatment response as well as survival.
When treatment is completed, the doctors should immediately assess treatment response.
Once all disease indicators seem to have disappeared, the patient has had a complete response. He or she is in a stage of "remission".
However, all cancers are capable of return.
When the disease reappears at a later date following remission, this is a condition called "relapse".
The patient needs to clearly understand the possibility for both remission and relapse.
The doctor should explain each very carefully to the patient.
There are potential issues following even the most successful lymphoma therapy.
The survivor's battle is not yet over even after complete recovery.
Lymphoma and the treatments employed have long-term effects.
In the years following treatment, these problems may ensue: cancer-related fatigue, infertility, memory problems, and possible heart damage.
Patients who win the initial battle against the disease must still be prepared to face the real possibility of further problems.
Lastly, the lymphoma patient should not feel isolated.
The patient needs to feel that his battle against the disease is not fought alone. Moral and emotional support could be important.
Family members and loved ones can play important roles in supporting the patient.
Until informed on the subject, most people will not understand that recovery from lymphoma goes far beyond mere monetary expense.
Physical recovery from the disease should be complemented by emotional and mental recovery.
In this aspect, making the patient feel loved and supported by the people around him definitely helps.