Lymphoma is a cancer that affects your lymphatic system, a network of vessels and glands that runs throughout your body.
NHS Choices has more information about the two types of lymphoma:
What to expect at your appointment
Your first appointment at hospital may take between 45 minutes and two hours. You may have tests and investigations on the same day or at a later date.
Your consultant will explain your diagnosis and any other tests you may need to find out how advanced your cancer is. At the end of this appointment, we will arrange another one where your consultant will discuss your test results and treatment plan with you.
You may also meet the clinical nurse specialist (CNS) who will be your key worker during your care. They will explain your test and treatment options and support you and your family. You will also be given written information about the type of cancer you have, your treatment, and other sources of information and support, such as King's Macmillan Information and Support Centre.
Tests and investigations
At your first appointment you may have one or more of the following tests at King's or you may be asked to return at a later date to have them. They help us to find out whether you have cancer and to assess your treatment options. They include:
- blood tests to screen for viruses and other cancer markers
- biopsy - surgical or bone marrow aspiration and thephine
- CT scan
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
- MRI scan
- PET scan
- ultrasound such as an echocardiogram
Your care and treatment depends on the type of cancer you have, its size and where it is, how far it has advanced (the stage) and your overall health. The final decision about what treatment you have is yours.
After our team of specialists reviews the results of your tests and investigations, we will arrange an appointment with you so you can discuss your treatment options with your consultant and clinical nurse specialist.
Most patients need treatment at some point and the majority have it as an outpatient. If you have slow-growing, low-grade lymphoma we may need to see you only for regular check-ups as an outpatient. You may have these for several years.
You may need treatment only when you develop certain symptoms. If this happens, we will discuss your treatment options with you. They include:
- Chemotherapy: a combination of oral or intravenous chemotherapy, together with steroids and a type of biological therapy called monoclonal antibodies (MAB). Chemotherapy normally lasts for one to two days and is given in 21-28 day cycles. You usually have six to eight cycles.
- Radiotherapy: you have this at Guy's and St Thomas'. You may have it at the end of your treatment or on its own if the cancer is in a specific part of your body.
Staying in hospital for treatment
You may need to have more intensive treatments as an inpatient because of how long it takes to have the chemotherapy so we can monitor the side effects more closely. You may need to stay in hospital for between four days or a few weeks at a time, depending on the treatment you need. We will discuss this with you so you know what to expect.
Coping with side effects
Many people do not feel well for a few days after having chemotherapy. The side effects vary, but you usually recover well ready for your next treatment cycle.
Before you start treatment, your key worker or one of the team at the Chemotherapy Day Unit will explain what to expect. They will also help you to cope with any symptoms and side effects. If you are feeling unwell at home, please contact your key worker at the unit.
Who to contact
At your first appointment, we will tell you who your key worker is, and how and when you can contact him or her. Your key worker is usually a clinical nurse specialist (CNS).
Lymphoma clinical nurse specialists
Ellinor Wellving and Orla Stewart
Tel: +44 (0)20 3299 2041
Pager number: ring +44 (0)20 3299 9000 and ask for pager KH0126
Available: Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Other useful numbers
- Haematology Clinic Reception: +44 (0)20 3299 5554, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
- Haematology Supportive Therapies Unit: +44 (0)20 3299 2963/2532, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
- Chemotherapy Day Unit: +44 (0)20 3299 4664, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
- Christina Lim, Lymphoma transplant co-ordinator- +44 (0)20 3299 4108
If you cannot contact your key worker or you need urgent advice outside of working hours, call King's switchboard on +44 (0)20 3299 9000 and ask to be put through to the on-call Haematology Registrar.
If you have practical queries or want further information about support groups, contact the Macmillan Centre at King’s.
Your care will be provided by a group of experts called a multidisciplinary team (MDT). This is a team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals specialising in treating your type of cancer. You can discuss your care with them and ask them any questions you have about your treatment. Our team includes:
- Dr Paul Fields
- Dr Shireen Kassam
- Dr Robert Marcus
- Dr Antonio Pagliuca
- Professor Stephen Devereux
- Dr David Wrench
- Dr Debby Yallop
- Dr George Mikhael
- Dr Dan Smith
How we support you
We want to make sure that you get all the assistance you need to live well with – and after – cancer. There’s a wide range of support available to help you cope with cancer, including physical, emotional and practical advice for you, your family, friends and carers.
The Lymphoma Support group meets from 6-7.30pm every other month, either at Guy's or King's:
- Guy’s Hospital, Haematology Seminar Room, Clinical Haematology, 4th Floor Southwark Wing, Gt Maze Pond, London SE1 9RT; contact Karen Stanley, Lymphoma CNS, tel +44 (0)20 7188 9333
- Cecily Saunders Institute, King’s College Hospital, Bessemer Road, Denmark Hill, London SE5 9JP; contact Ellinor Wellving, Lymphoma CNS, tel +44 (0)20 3299 2041