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If your non Hodgkin lymphoma comes back

Find out about treatment if your lymphoma comes back after treatment.

Treatment decisions

Many people with non Hodgkin lymphoma are cured. But your doctor cannot know straight away whether your lymphoma will come back or not.

Some people find that their lymphoma comes back some time after treatment. If this happens to you, your doctor might still be able cure your non Hodgkin lymphoma. This depends on:

  • the grade of your lymphoma
  • the type of non Hodgkin lymphoma 
  • the treatment you have already had
  • your general health

Even if your lymphoma can't be cured, your doctor can give you some treatment to control it. They might be able to keep you well for long periods at a time.

The main treatments

The treatments used for non Hodgkin lymphoma that has come back are the same treatments that can be used when it is first diagnosed. These are:

  • radiotherapy
  • chemotherapy
  • stem cell or bone marrow transplant
  • biological therapy

You might have more intensive treatment than you had at first.

Follow up

You have regular follow up appointments to check how you are and whether you have any problems or worries. They also give you the opportunity to raise any concerns you have about your progress.

If you are worried

It can be very hard to cope with the news that your cancer has come back, even if your doctor still hopes to cure you. You might want to think about having counselling. A trained counsellor can help you to talk about your fears and worries. And sometimes it feels easier to talk to someone outside your family and friends.

You can call the Cancer Research UK information nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. They are happy to help. They can give advice about who can help you and what kind of support is available.
Last reviewed: 
26 Sep 2014
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: diagnosis and management of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma 
    (Draft scope for consultation 8 November–5 December 2013)
    National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

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