It's very common for people recently diagnosed with a subtype of lymphoma, or their family and friends, to want to know is lymphoma curable? Unfortunately the answer is not as simple as this. In order to have some idea about whether or not lymphoma is curable, one must know the subtype.
"Lymphoma" is a blanket term for several dozen types of lymphoma cancer, each of which is different with differing prognoses. To that end, we'll take a brief look at some of the more frequently diagnosed lymphomas and examine their known prognoses.
Is Lymphoma Curable: Diffuse large b-cell lymphoma
This moderately aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma is the most frequently diagnosed lymphoma subtype. It has therefore enjoyed a lot of attention from the research community, and one can safely estimate that approximately 50% of patients are curable—whether that means with first-line therapy or last-line therapy, such as a stem cell transplant.
Is Lymphoma Curable: Follicular lymphoma
This non-Hodgkin lymphoma is typically diagnosed in people over the age of 50, and it is often not found until the disease is in its later stages. Follicular lymphoma (FL) is not considered a curable cancer, chiefly because it is considered an indolent, or non-aggressive, cancer. However, 'incurable' should not be mistaken in this instance for 'fatal', as most patients with FL will not die from their lymphoma. It is considered a manageable disease, so often patients will endure some form of therapy, then go from months to years without any therapy or symptoms, then take up some form of therapy again when necessary.
Is Lymphoma Curable: Hodgkin lymphoma
Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), also known as Hodgkin's disease, is a very rare type of lymphoma that affects about 10,000 people in the United States each year. A tremendous amount of research has gone into Hodgkin's lymphoma over the past 50 years, and the consequence is that HL has become one of the more curable cancers, with a cure rate that can approach 90% depending on various factors. While HL patients enjoy high cure rates, sometimes HL proves refractory, meaning it does not respond to treatment. While this is not common, it nonetheless does occur.