Is Lymphoma Curable? (Hodgkin's and Non-Hodgkin's)

Written by Hexahealth Care Team, last updated on 15 December 2023
Is Lymphoma Curable? (Hodgkin's and Non-Hodgkin's)

Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system, a part of the body's immune system. One of the questions that often arises when discussing lymphoma is, "Is lymphoma curable?" The answer to this question depends on several factors, including the type and stage of lymphoma and the individual's overall health.

This article will provide you with information and answer to the question, “Is Hodgkin’s lymphoma curable?”. So keep reading to find out more.

What is Lymphoma?

Lymphoma, a type of cancer, occurs when white blood cells called lymphocytes start growing uncontrollably due to changes in their DNA. These changes can be caused due to several factors, including an individual’s age, family history, infection, low immunity, chemical exposure, autoimmune disease and more.

The changes in the genetic material (DNA) can cause the lymphocytes to stop responding to the signals that typically keep them in check. 

DNA mutations occur spontaneously, and while the majority are unharmful, a few can impact important genes. Multiple crucial gene alterations can cause lymphoma in specific combinations.

Lymphoma Types

When it comes to lymphomas, they are generally classified into two main types based on the type of cell involved in the cancer. 

  1. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: Hodgkin’s lymphoma is characterised by the presence of a specific type of abnormal cell called Reed-Sternberg cells. It is a relatively rare lymphoma that accounts for around 10% of all lymphomas.

  2. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: It encompasses a larger group of lymphomas that do not contain Reed-Sternberg cells. It is also the most common lymphoma, accounting for approximately 90% of all lymphomas.

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Is Lymphoma Curable?

Lymphoma, whether Hodgkin's or non-Hodgkin's, can often be cured, particularly in its early stages. While Hodgkin’s lymphoma is often curable, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma presents different challenges.

The likelihood of curability and survival varies for different types of lymphoma and their subtypes. Slow-growing lymphomas may not be curable with standard chemotherapy but offer a longer survival rate. Conversely, combination chemotherapy can be effective in curing fast-growing lymphomas.

Hodgkin Lymphoma

Hodgkin lymphoma is highly curable, mainly when detected early. The cure rate for early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma exceeds 92%.

Survival Rates: The five-year survival rate for Hodgkin's lymphoma has improved over time due to advancements in chemotherapy and other treatments. 

Hodgkin's lymphoma's five-year relative survival rates vary based on its stages. These rates represent averages across all age groups and other factors influencing survival.

  1. Stage I: 90%

  2. Stage II: 90%

  3. Stage III: 80%

  4. Stage IV: 65%

Estimating long-term survival for Hodgkin's lymphoma is challenging due to potential late complications, including the development of secondary cancers. However, between 15 and 30 years after treatment, the risk of dying from unrelated causes surpasses the risk of Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Survival Rate After Relapse: More than half of recurrences occur within two years of standard treatment, and up to 90% occur within the first five years. After ten years, the occurrence of relapse becomes rare. Many individuals who experience a relapse go on to live long lives.

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is generally less curable than Hodgkin lymphoma. The cure rate for non-Hodgkin lymphoma varies depending on the lymphoma type, cancer stage, and patient's age and overall health. 

The curability of NHL depends on the specific type and stage of the disease. 

  1. Indolent Lymphomas:

    1. Indolent lymphomas grow slowly, representing around 40% of all NHL cases.

    2. For stage 1 or 2 indolent NHL, radiation therapy alone is often sufficient for effective treatment.

    3. However, in advanced stages, indolent NHL is typically not curable. Treatment aims to control symptoms and achieve remission.

  2. Aggressive Lymphomas:

  1. Aggressive lymphomas progress rapidly, accounting for about 60% of all NHL cases.

  2. Treatment for aggressive NHL typically involves a combination of chemotherapy, steroids, and sometimes immunotherapy.

  3. Doctors can cure aggressive NHL in over half of the cases, and the likelihood of recurrence is low.

Survival Rates: Continued improvements in treatment have further enhanced survival rates. The overall five-year relative survival rate for NHL is 73%. This means a person with NHL is 73% as likely to live for five years as someone without the condition.

Survival rates change depending on the stage of the NHL. For example:

  1. Stage 1: 86.5% 

  2. Stage 2: 78.1% 

  3. Stage 3: 72.3% 

  4. Stage 4: 63.9% 

Life Expectancy: The median age of death for all types of NHL is 76, while the median age of diagnosis is 67. Indolent forms of NHL have a median survival of about 20 years.

Chance of Relapse: Late stages of indolent NHL are more likely to experience relapse. However, relapse can be treated with another course of treatment that can result in another remission. Aggressive NHL cases may experience relapse within the first two years after treatment.

Factors Affecting the Lymphoma Cure

When it comes to the curability of lymphoma, several factors play a significant role in determining the treatment outcome and the overall prognosis. Individuals and their healthcare professionals can make informed decisions and create individualised treatment programmes by being aware of these factors. 

The following are some important factors that can affect whether lymphoma can be cured:

  1. Lymphoma Type and Subtype: There are numerous subtypes, each with unique characteristics and responses to treatment within the main two types of lymphoma. Some subtypes have a higher curability rate compared to others.

  2. Stage and Spread of the Disease: Early-stage lymphomas localised to one or a few lymph nodes have a higher chance of being cured than advanced-stage lymphomas that have spread to multiple organs.

  3. Age: Older adults have a higher incidence of lymphoma, but the cure rate is generally lower than younger adults.

  4. Overall Health: Pre-existing health conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, may impact the cure rate.

  5. Treatment Type: The treatment choice can also affect the chances of a cure. The age and overall health of a person also play a crucial role in determining the effectiveness of the treatment.

  6. Recurrence and Relapse: The recurrence or relapse of lymphoma after treatment can impact curability. The chances of achieving a cure may be lower in cases where the lymphoma returns or becomes resistant to treatment.

Ways to Cure Lymphoma

Certain tests will be advised and performed by your healthcare provider to have an accurate analysis of the conditions. Based on the test results, your healthcare provider will suggested on of the following or a combination of the following treatment modalities to cure lymphoma. 

Some of the most common and effective lymphoma treatments include : 

  1. Chemotherapy: A common cancer treatment where drugs are used to kill cancer cells and prevent the growth of tumors.

  2. Radiation Therapy: A therapy that uses high-powered X-Rays to kill cancer cells in the body. This therapy can be used in combination with other treatments to obtain desired results. 

  3. Targeted Therapy: A cancer treatment that allows healthcare providers to kill cancer cells without hurting the healthy cells using a target drug. 

  4. Immunotherapy: A therapy that trains the body's immunity to fight cancer cells and allows a person to live longer. 

  5. CAR T-Cell Therapy: An effective cancer treatment, this process transforms the cells into cancer-fighting machines.

  6. Bone Marrow Transplantation: Also known as stem cell transplantation, this process cures the disease by boosting the growth of healthy cells. 

Lifestyle Changes and Supportive Care

Lymphoma patients can improve their therapy's effectiveness and general well-being by adopting lifestyle modifications and using support services and resources. 

These measures may not cure the disease but will improve treatment outcomes once you undertake them.

  1. Healthy Diet: Eating a balanced, wholesome diet is crucial for those with lymphoma. Essential nutrients can be provided, and general health can be supported by a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats. Limiting processed foods, sugary drinks, and bad fats is also a good idea.

  2. Regular Exercise: Exercise can help improve strength, reduce fatigue, boost mood, and enhance overall well-being. It is important to discuss exercise plans with the healthcare team to ensure safety and suitability for individual cases.

  3. Stress Management: Anxiety and stress are frequently experienced by lymphoma patients. Examining stress-reduction strategies like meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or taking up relaxing hobbies can help lower stress levels and enhance emotional well-being.

  4. Supportive Care Services: To cope with the difficulties of living with lymphoma, seeking support from medical professionals, support groups, and counselling services might be helpful. 

  5. Regular Follow-up and Monitoring: To track the course of the condition, evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment, and address any fresh or persistent issues, regular follow-up appointments with the medical staff are crucial.

When to Consult a Doctor?

The first step towards ensuring a successful recovery is timely diagnosis and treatment. In cases where a person can feel the symptoms and changes in their body, it becomes essential to consult a healthcare provider immediately. 

Here are some situations when it is important to consult a doctor.

  1. Unexplained swelling of the lymph nodes.

  2. Unexplained weight loss

  3. Fatigue and weakness

  4. Night sweats and fever

  5. Shortness of breath

It is crucial to consult your medical professional if new questions arise, symptoms change,  side effects become difficult to manage, or any concerns related to treatment or care.


Early detection, personalised treatment plans, and a comprehensive support system are crucial in enhancing outcomes and the lives of people with lymphoma. Remember, individual cases can vary, and it is important to have personalised discussions with healthcare professionals regarding prognosis and treatment options.

Health issues are sure to impact and disturb the life of a person and their families in the most negative ways. At times of turmoil, the need for the right guidance and support is high. This is where we at HexaHealth come to your rescue and help you and those around you find the best and the most reliable medical assistance. 

Suggested Reads

Types of Lymphoma
Hodgkins Lymphoma Stages
Lymphoma Symptoms
Hodgkin Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment
Difference between Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Leukaemia vs Lymphoma

Frequently Asked Questions

Is lymphoma curable?

Lymphoma is a treatable condition. The therapy and survival rate are determined by the lymphoma stage and the patient's age.

Various treatment options are available, and the physician can utilise the strategies with the highest efficacy and the fewest side effects.

Is Hodgkin's lymphoma curable?

Hodgkin's lymphoma can be cured. Approximately 90% of persons with Hodgkin's lymphoma in its early stages are cured. Cure rates are lower in people with more advanced diseases.

Younger people respond better to treatment and therapies than older ones, and females respond more successfully to treatment than males.

Can lymphoma be cured completely?

Lymphoma can be completely cured if detected in its early stages. However, the patient must respond to the treatment method to be fully free of lymphoma.

Chemotherapy involving ABVD and BEACOPP programs is particularly effective in treating lymphoma and boosting patient survival rates in early-stage lymphoma.

What are the chances of a cure for lymphoma?

According to the American Cancer Society experts, more than 90% of patients in stages 1 and 2 survive for five years or more, and those in stage 4 have an 82 percent survival rate.

This shows that the chances of treating lymphoma are quite good, but the chances of a cure are still a big unknown.

Is b cell lymphoma curable?

B-cell lymphomas account for around 85% of all NHL cases. For localised and regional cases, the five-year survival rate for diffuse large B-cell NHL is 73% and 64% for distant instances.

Prompt diagnosis and treatment enhance outcomes, especially in patients with more advanced cancers.

Is there a possibility of long-term remission for lymphoma?

Remission signifies the absence or undetectability of the disease. A remission lasting over five years often allows individuals to live without the disease returning.

While it's relieving to hear about remission, it's crucial to maintain regular medical appointments and tests.

Can lymphoma come back after successful treatment?

Recurrence of HL can happen even years after treatment, which is why regular check-ups are essential. While treatment can cure HL for many individuals, the fear of its return may linger.

Some people may require ongoing treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, to manage HL that doesn't go away completely.

What factors decide if the lymphoma is curable or not?

Factors Affecting Lymphoma Curability:

  1. Age of the patient

  2. Type and stage of the lymphoma

  3. Involvement of organs beyond the lymph system

  4. Performance status (ability to carry out daily activities)

  5. The blood level of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) – increases with lymphoma extent

  6. Treatment options -  It's essential to consider them when assessing the prognosis and treatment options for individuals with lymphoma.

Are there different curability rates for different types of lymphoma?

Lymphoma curability and survival rates are different for different types and stages:

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma:

  1. Overall 5-year survival rate: 74%

  2. Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL):

    1. Localised stage: 73%

    2. Regional stage: 58%

    3. Distant stage: 42%

  3. About 50% are curable with therapy, but 40% may relapse or have refractory disease.

Hodgkin's Lymphoma:

  1. Overall 5-year survival rate: 88%

  2. Localised stage: 92%

  3. Regional stage: 94%

  4. Distant stage: 80%

  5. Higher survival rates in younger patients.

What are the treatment options available for achieving a cure for lymphoma?

The two basic treatment choices are chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Immunotherapy, steroid medicine, and watchful waiting are other possible treatments.

Surgery is rarely used for treatment, but it might be useful in obtaining a diagnosis.

How successful are current treatment approaches in curing lymphoma?

Advancements in HL treatment have occurred in recent decades. Around 80% of patients can achieve a cure through tailored initial therapies, combining chemotherapy and radiotherapy based on the disease stage.

The current first-line methods incorporate combined modalities and PET-guided strategies. These approaches have contributed to improved outcomes for patients with HL.

Are there any advancements in treatment that have improved the curability of lymphoma?

Most second-line treatments include rigorous salvage, high-dose chemotherapy (HDCT), and autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT).

Novel methods, including antibody-drug conjugates and immunomodulatory medicines, have demonstrated promising results in clinical studies for these advancements in refractory and relapsed HL treatments and are already being used in early treatment lines.

Can early detection improve the chances of a cure for lymphoma?

According to the National Institute of Cancer, Hodgkin's Lymphoma often has a good chance of being cured. However, the outlook for non-Hodgkin lymphoma varies depending on the specific type.

The most common type is the aggressive subtype. But here's the good news: early diagnosis significantly improves the chances of successful treatment. Patients with the less aggressive subtype can live with the condition for up to 15 years.

Is a cure more likely in certain stages of lymphoma?

Radiation therapy may be beneficial in treating lymphoma in people in stages I and II. The activity of the cancerous cells determines this. Several studies are now underway, primarily aiming to improve existing therapy choices. As a result, patients can receive medicines that will provide them with higher benefits in the future.

What factors indicate a higher likelihood of cure in lymphoma?

Several factors influence the prognosis of lymphoma, including its type, stage, grade, subtype, age, overall health, and risk factors. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Aggressiveness: Indolent types have a better prognosis, though they are more challenging to cure. Aggressive lymphomas may respond well to treatment but have a higher chance of relapse.

  2. Stage: Lower stages have better survival rates.

  3. Grade: The rate of cancer cell division is graded, with higher grades indicating a worse prognosis. 

  4. Subtype: With over 60 types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), each subtype has its prognosis.

  5. Age: Younger individuals generally have a better outlook due to their ability to handle more intensive treatments and fewer underlying health issues.

What should patients do to maximise their chances of a cure for lymphoma?

To improve their chances of a cure, lymphoma patients should openly discuss treatment options and the potential benefits and risks with their doctor. Following recommended follow-up

care and monitoring are also crucial.

  1. Choose an experienced haematologist-oncologist who specialises in lymphoma.

  2. Consider seeking a second opinion from a pathologist specialising in lymphoma diagnosis and subtyping.

  3. Explore participation in clinical trials offering innovative lymphoma treatments.

  4. Adopt a healthy lifestyle: exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet, stay hydrated, manage stress, and prioritise quality sleep.

  5. Seek support from loved ones, counsellors, support groups, or online communities.

Are there any lifestyle changes or supportive measures that can improve the curability of lymphoma?

To improve your chances of curability and support your lymphoma treatment, consider the following steps:

  1. Adopt a balanced, nutritious diet and engage in regular exercise. Include vitamin-containing fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats like nuts, avocados, and olive oil. Minimise saturated fats, trans fats, sugar, and sodium.

  2. Strive to maintain a moderate weight. Even small activities like neighborhood walks or stairs can make a difference, despite the challenges posed by treatment.

  3. If you smoke, aim to quit as soon as possible. Tobacco use escalates the risk of various cancers associated with lymphoma.

How important is adherence to treatment and follow-up care for achieving a cure for lymphoma?

Staying committed to treatment and follow-up care is crucial for achieving a cure for lymphoma.

Experts emphasize that follow-up care helps monitor your health, detect potential relapse, manage side effects, and offer support. You may require regular physical exams, blood tests, scans, and immunizations based on the lymphoma type and stage.

Are there any cases where lymphoma is considered incurable?

In certain cases, lymphoma can be considered incurable, though not necessarily terminal. For instance:

  1. Follicular lymphoma is slow-growing cancer and largely incurable.

  2. Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma is generally incurable and rarely terminal.

  3. Mantle cell lymphoma is an aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and remains incurable.

How can patients stay informed about the latest developments in lymphoma treatment and curability?

Staying informed about lymphoma treatment advancements is crucial. Reliable sources like the National Cancer Institute, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and Lymphoma Research

Foundations can provide valuable information. Patients should discuss their specific diagnosis and treatment options with their doctors.


All the articles on HexaHealth are supported by verified medically-recognized sources such as; peer-reviewed academic research papers, research institutions, and medical journals. Our medical reviewers also check references of the articles to prioritize accuracy and relevance. Refer to our detailed editorial policy for more information.

  1. Lymphoma Action | Causes and risk factors for lymphoma [Internet]. Lymphoma
  2. Is non-Hodgkin lymphoma curable? Outlook and support [Internet]. 2022 [cited 2023 Jul 10]. link
  3. Learn About How Survival Rates Are Improving With Hodgkin Disease [Internet]. Verywell Health. link
  4. National Cancer Institute. Lymphoma [Internet]. National Cancer Institute.;
  5. Mayo Clinic. Lymphoma - Diagnosis and treatment - Mayo Clinic [Internet].

Updated on : 15 December 2023


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HexaHealth Care Team

HexaHealth Care Team brings you medical content covering many important conditions, procedures falling under different medical specialities. The content published is thoroughly reviewed by our panel of qualified doctors for its accuracy and relevance.

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