Lymphoma

Lymphoma

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Duke’s lymphoma specialists treat people with all types of lymphoma, a group of cancers of the lymphatic system, which is part of your body's immune system. The different types of lymphoma, include: 

  • Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), which 
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL)
  • Cutaneous lymphoma, which affects the skin
  • Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia, which occurs when the cancer cells make an abnormal amount of protein. 

Because these lymphomas act and are treated differently, it is important to receive an accurate diagnosis to ensure you receive the best possible care for your type of lymphoma. Our team of lymphoma experts creates a personalized treatment plan that uses the most effective therapies, including many that were developed right here at Duke. 

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Treatments

Active Surveillance

This may be recommended if you are not experiencing symptoms. We monitor you regularly and start treatment when symptoms appear or changes in your condition occur.

Radiation Therapy

High-energy beams target the tumor to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells. Radiation therapy is often given in addition to chemotherapy. 

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapies block the growth of cancer cells or interfere with processes that help cancer cells survive. Monoclonal antibody therapy is a targeted therapy for lymphoma that is administered through an IV, by itself or in combination with chemotherapy. Monoclonal antibodies have significantly improved the outcomes for most people with lymphoma.

Chemotherapy

Kills or slows the growth of cancer cells. Systemic chemotherapy is administered via oral medication or by infusion into a vein. Some forms of chemotherapy must be given in the hospital or in a clinic; others can be given at home. 

Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant

Lymphoma damages the cells in the bone marrow where healthy white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets are made. Blood and bone marrow transplant restores your healthy cell function by killing the lymphoma cells and replacing them with healthy cells. 

CAR T-Cell Therapy for Advanced Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

We are one of the few centers trained to administer a new class of treatments called CAR T-cell therapy (brand name: Yescarta). The gene therapy transforms a person’s own cells into cells that attack and destroy cancer cells. People with advanced non-Hodgkin lymphoma who have failed chemotherapy may be candidates for this one-time treatment. People who are interested in being evaluated for this therapy must have their physician provide a referral. Once an appointment is made, one of our navigators will work with you to determine if this is an appropriate therapy. 

Our Locations
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Tests

MRI, PET and CT Scans

These imaging tests help your doctor diagnose lymphomas and recommend the best treatment plan.

Genetic Tests

Unlike other forms of genetic testing, which look for conditions that may run in your family, this type of testing examines the genetic makeup of your lymphoma. This helps your doctor better understand the biology behind your condition. This can help us to predict how lymphoma may act over time, and in some cases, to choose the best possible therapies. Some genetic studies are only available at Duke.

Biopsy

Removes a small amount of tissue for examination under a microscope. Biopsy is the only definitive diagnosis of cancer. If lymphoma is found in your bone marrow, you will undergo a bone marrow biopsy. The outpatient procedure is usually performed in clinic and often only requires local anesthetic.

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Why Choose Duke

Largest Lymphoma Center in North Carolina
We treat 1,000 people with blood cancer each year, more than any other facility in North Carolina, and we have a team dedicated to working with people who have lymphoma. In addition, as a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, we offer a level of expertise in treating lymphomas that can only be found in the top four percent of cancer centers across the country with this designation. We are also part of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers dedicated to improving patient care.

Team of Lymphoma Specialists
Our team — medical, radiation and surgical oncologists, dermatologists, palliative care specialists, psychologists, infectious disease doctors, radiologists, specially trained nurses, nutritionists and social workers — meets regularly to discuss your care, collect opinions, and offer coordinated treatment recommendations and follow-up. 

Clinical Trial Access
We offer a wide range of clinical trials that may give you access to new drugs, new forms of chemotherapy, and radiation treatments not offered at most other hospitals. 

Advanced Therapies Available
We are one of the few centers trained to administer a new class of treatments called CAR T-cell therapy (brand name: Yescarta). Our researchers are also exploring genetic differences among lymphomas that will lead to improved therapies. Novel techniques such as less intense stem cell transplants, pioneered in part at Duke, are now offering hope to people with lymphoma. 

Support for You and Your Family
Our comprehensive support services are here for you throughout your treatment journey. We help minimize the side effects of treatment and offer support to help you cope with the emotional and psychological effects of diagnosis and treatment. You may also benefit our services focusing on nutrition, guided imagery, anxiety control, and meditation. Our cancer survivorship clinic pulls together a range of resources specially designed to help you after your treatment ends. View all of our cancer support groups on our event calendar.  

Among the Best Cancer Hospitals in U.S.
Where you receive your cancer care is important. Duke University Hospital's cancer program is ranked among the nation's best.