Relapsed and Refractory Lymphoma

Lymphoma Journey

Relapsed and Refractory Lymphoma

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Relapsed lymphoma means that the disease has returned after responding to treatment–this is sometimes also called a recurrence.  Refractory lymphoma means that the patient’s disease no longer responds to a specific treatment.  There are many treatment options for patients with relapsed or refractory lymphomas.  Optimal treatment options for patients with relapsed or refractory lymphoma depend on factors such as the type of lymphoma, age, extent of disease, overall health, and previous therapies received.

Patients who do not go into complete remission following treatment or who do not respond to treatment should not lose hope.  Complete remission may be achieved following a diagnosis or relapsed or refractory disease.  Many patients seek second opinions at any point from diagnosis onward and often choose to do so if their disease relapses or is considered refractory.

Many of the novel therapeutic agents approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and those being investigated in clinical trials are used specifically for patients with relapsed or refractory disease.  Lymphoma research continually evolves as doctors and scientists discover new therapies and more effective ways of giving existing treatments.

Learn more about relapsed/refractory disease and available treatment options by lymphoma subtype:

coping with lymphoma

Each person’s experience with cancer is different, and coping with the physical and emotional impact of having lymphoma is unique to a patient’s personality and situation.  Learn about coping strategies, financial considerations, and nutrition.

Treatment planning and options

The first steps in participating in treatment are to ask questions, learn about options and work closely with the doctor.  Learn about self-advocacy, treatment options, and how to communicate with your health care team.


Living a healthy lifestyle–including eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, exercising, not smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, etc.–can reduce a survivor’s risk of developing late health effects from treatment.

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