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You have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Lymphoma is a general term for cancers that develop in the lymphatic system, a part of the body that helps you fight disease and infection. Since the lymphatic system extends throughout the body, non-Hodgkin lymphoma can start in many different places. Treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma may include chemotherapy (drug therapy), radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and watchful waiting. This sheet provides general guidelines about caring for yourself after chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Try to exercise. This keeps you strong and keeps your heart and lungs active. Walk as much as you can without becoming dizzy or weak.
Take all medications exactly as directed.
Don’t be discouraged if you get mouth sores, even if you are following all your doctor’s instructions. Many people get mouth sores during chemotherapy. Here’s what you can do to help prevent them:
Brush your teeth with a soft-bristle toothbrush after every meal.
Don’t use dental floss if your platelet count is below 50,000. Your doctor or nurse will tell you if this is the case.
Use an oral swab or special soft toothbrush if your gums bleed during regular brushing.
Use any mouthwashes given to you as directed.
If you can’t brush your teeth or tolerate mouthwash, try mixing 1 teaspoon(s) of salt and 1 teaspoon(s) of baking soda into an 8- ounce glass of warm water. Swish and spit.
Watch your mouth and tongue for white patches. This is a sign of fungal infection, a common side effect of chemotherapy. Be sure to tell your doctor about these patches. Medication can be prescribed to help you fight the fungal infection.
Let your doctor know if your throat is sore. You may have an infection that needs treatment.
Don’t be surprised if your treatment causes slight burns to your skin. Some drugs used in high doses and some radiation treatments can cause this. Ask for a special cream to help relieve the burn and protect your skin.
Keep clean. During treatment, your body can’t fight germs very well.
Take short baths or showers with warm water. Avoid very hot or cold water.
Use moisturizing soap. Treatment can make your skin dry.
Apply moisturizing lotion several times a day to help relieve dry skin.
Remember, many patients feel sick and lose their appetites during treatment. Eat small meals several times a day to keep your strength up.
Choose bland foods with little taste or smell if you are reacting strongly to food.
Be sure to cook all food thoroughly. This kills bacteria and helps you avoid infection.
Eat foods that are soft. Soft foods are less likely to cause stomach irritation.
Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.
Keep all follow-up appointments. You will need to be monitored closely for the rest of your life.
Call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:
Wheezing, shortness of breath, or trouble breathing
Rapid, irregular heartbeat; chest pain
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Constant feeling of being cold
Rash or hives
A cut or rash that swells, turns red, feels hot or painful, or begins to ooze
Fever of 100.4°F or higher, or chills
Poor appetite; unexplained weight loss
Hot flashes or night sweats
Coughing up yellow or green mucus
Yellowing of the skin or eyes
Headache, confusion, or memory loss
New lumps or bumps under arms, on or near neck, or on or near groin