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Limit to amount of chemo/radiation

Posts: 4
Joined: Jan 2011

Diagnosed with NHL in 2008.  Had 8 rounds R-CHOP and 27 radiation sessions.  Have been clear until now.  So my question...Is there a limit to the amount of chemo/radiation you can have?  I don't have symptoms right now but a recent PET showed uptake in the pelvic region and near the trachea.  I will see my oncologist on Monday but pretty scared right now.  I know there are survivors out there but would you please respond with how long you have survived this NHL.  Thank you and God Bless All!

Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3693
Joined: May 2012


Hopefully your PET results are nothing to worry about. Let us know what the doc says, if you will.

Many of the chemo drugs have recommended maximum lifetime doses, but these are RECOMMENDATIONS. A doctor can (and often will) waive the limits if he or she feels it is necessary to save the patient.  Adriamycin (which is in many combinations, including your CHOP, as well as the ABVD that I took) has limits, but I went WAY over the recommendations, based on what my doc thought that I needed.  I went over on some of my others as well.

The initial treatment a patient receives is called First-Line therapy, and CHOP is one of the most common first-line treatments for NHL.  If someone relapses at some point thereafter, the docs move to what are called "second-line" (sometimes called "salvage" therapies).  These are sometimes the same drugs as first-line, but very commonly they are different drugs, so being close to a lifetime max on some of your first-line meds would not ordinarily be an issue.  Plus, like I said, those limits are waivable.

When you see the oncologist on Monday, simply ask what your salvage therapy would be if you ever relapsed.  He will be glad to tell you.  I asked my doc years ago, and he answered the question on the spot (mine would be ICE, followed by stem cell transplantation).

You asked about survivors here. EVERYONE here is a survivor ! (Even the spouses, in my opinion; my wife went through more during my treatment thanI did.)   I have been in complete remission for five years now.  We have the full spectrum of folks who just finished treatment, to some who have been cancer free for 30 years or more.  We also have numerous regulars who have relapsed in some manner or other, but who have great lives and a good prognosis for their future years or decades.  I hope many will answer your question regarding survival time.



Posts: 24
Joined: Feb 2014

Hello....like Max said there is going to be a stronger dose chemo treatment if it recurs at all and also the option of stem cell transplant..while PET uptake means there is some activity..but i hope n wish its ignorable..

as far as radiation is concerned, i just had a discussion this morning and i was told that a human body has limitations wrt radiation in a part of the body..for eg., if one had near heart/chest area the body remembers it and the radiation cant be given again in the same area as the body cant withstand it.. however if its a different area, its not the case. 


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