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The lymphatic system is made up of vessels and glands.

The lymphatic system is made up of vessels and glands.
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Complications of lymphoma treatment

2-minute read

Like all cancer treatments, lymphoma treatments can cause a wide range of side effects and complications. But not everybody experiences the same side effects of treatment, and often they are mild and can be dealt with easily.

If you are being treated for lymphoma, some of the medicines or radiation used may cause you to:

  • lose some or all of your hair temporarily
  • feel nauseous
  • vomit
  • feel very tired and washed out
  • have a sore mouth
  • have headaches
  • have sore skin from radiation
  • have an increased risk of infections

These side effects are temporary, and you can talk to your healthcare team about things you can do to prevent them or reduce them.

Infections

Lymphoma treatments can weaken your immune system, increasing your risk of infection. As a precaution, you may be given antibiotics.

If you are being treated for lymphoma and think you have an infection, tell your doctor immediately. Untreated infections can be very serious for people on cancer treatments. The symptoms of infection include:

Infertility

Some lymphoma treatments can cause infertility. Infertility is often temporary, but in some cases it can be permanent.

Ask if your treatment puts you at high risk of infertility. In some cases, men may be able to store samples of their sperm, and women may be able to freeze eggs, to use once treatment is over.

Doctors strongly recommend people having chemotherapy use contraception during treatment and for three months after, as chemotherapy can damage embryos.

Second cancer

People who’ve had one cancer are at higher risk of having another one. A second cancer can be the same type or different to the first one. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy also further increase this risk.

Having a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of getting a second cancer. That means not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating nutritious food and exercising regularly.

It is important to see you doctor about any suspicious symptoms.

Other problems

Lymphoma treatments can also increase your risk of getting heart and lung disease. A diagnosis of cancer can also increase your risk of suffering from depression.

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Last reviewed: January 2019

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