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How Accessible is Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment in India?

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is a complex and challenging diagnosis. In India, there is hope in the form of cutting-edge treatments. NHL treatment in India involves world-class medical facilities, leading oncologists, and innovative therapies that offer life to those battling the disease.

The cost of non-Hodgkin lymphoma treatment in India ranges from INR 5,00,000 to INR 6,00,000 ((USD 6,000 – USD 8,000).

What is Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?

A common hematological malignancy, NHL, starts in white blood cells (lymphocytes). It can occur at any age, but the chances of developing NHL increase as you get older. Over one-third of cases are diagnosed in people over 75. Males are more affected by NHL than females.

What are the Different Types of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?

Lymphoma type depends on the following:

  • Type of lymphocyte affected (B cells or T cells)
  • How mature the cells are when they become cancerous
  • Other factors

T-cell vs. B-cell Lymphomas

The lymph system, made up mainly of lymphocytes, helps the body fight infections. There are two main types of lymphocytes:

  • T lymphocytes (T cells): Among the various types of T-cells, some destroy germs or abnormal cells in the body. Other T-cells help boost or slow down the activity of other immune system cells.
  • B lymphocytes (B cells): These cells help protect the body against germs by making antibodies. The antibodies attach themselves to the germs, thus marking them for destruction by the immune system.

Although lymphoma can start in either type of lymphocyte, B-cell lymphomas are most common.

Indolent vs. Aggressive Lymphomas

Some NHL types can also be grouped based on how fast they grow and spread:

  • Indolent Lymphomas: These lymphomas grow and spread slowly. Some of these might not need to be treated right away but need to be observed closely instead. 
  • Aggressive Lymphomas: These lymphomas grow and spread quickly and usually need to be treated right away. 

Some lymphomas, such as mantle cell lymphoma, do not fit in either of these categories. Regardless of how quickly they grow, all NHL can spread to other body parts of the lymph system if not treated. They can also spread to other body parts, such as the brain, liver, or bone marrow.

Dr. Radheshyam Naik is an experienced Medical Oncologist with expertise in the management of a broad spectrum of cancers. He has a special interest in hematological disorders and bone marrow transplantation (BMT).

What are the Symptoms of Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas?

Some of the common symptoms of NHL include the following:

  • Swollen lymph nodes (neck, armpits, or groin)
  • Belly (abdominal) pain or swelling
  • Chest pain 
  • Cough
  • Trouble breathing (dyspnea)
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Unexplained fever that stays above 103 F (39.5 O C) for two or more hours after home treatment
  • Heavy night sweats
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • A feeling of fullness even though you’re not eating a lot

Dr. Naik’s areas of expertise also include haemato-oncology, stem cell therapy, allogeneic and haploidentical BMT, along with the treatment of kidney, prostate, lung, bones, colorectal, and genitourinary cancers.

How do Medical Professionals Treat Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?

Treatments available for NHL kill cancerous cells or keep them from dividing. Every treatment has different side effects. 

The treatment includes the following:

  • Watchful waiting/active surveillance: If you are suffering from a type of indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma but don’t have symptoms, you may be asked to hold off medications or other treatments. This is known as watchful waiting or active surveillance. Your overall health will be carefully monitored, and the treatment will be started as soon as you have symptoms.
  • Traditional systemic chemotherapy: Chemotherapeutic drugs attack cancerous cells throughout your body. Most traditional chemotherapy drugs are given intravenously. Sometimes, these drugs have side effects such as nausea, low numbers of normal blood cells, or hair loss.
  • Chemotherapy with stem cell transplantation: In stem cell transplantation, your healthcare provider may do autologous stem cell transplantation. Less frequently, they may perform allogeneic stem cell transplantation.
  • Targeted therapy: These include treatments with monoclonal antibody therapy. The treatment uses lab-created antibodies to find and destroy specific cancer cells.
  • Immunotherapy (biological therapy or biotherapy): This treatment boosts your body’s immune system. For example, CAR-T cell therapy is viewed as a monoclonal antibody type as well as immunotherapy.
  • Radiation therapy: This includes X-rays or other types of radiation.

What is the Cost of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment in India?

The cost of non-Hodgkin lymphoma treatment in India includes the following:

  • Chemotherapy – INR 22,072 – INR 147,152 per cycle (USD 300 – USD 2000 per cycle)
  • Bone Marrow Transplant – INR 11,03,640 (USD 15000)
  • Radiation Therapy – INR 367,880 (USD 5000)

With state-of-the-art facilities and experienced oncologists in India, patients now have access to comprehensive care that focuses on their overall well-being. With the right medical expertise and emotional support, India’s medical community stands ready to provide the best care possible. The affordable cost of non-Hodgkin lymphoma treatment in India is an added advantage for patients coming here for the treatment.

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