Lymphoma treatment-how soon is too soon to be considered cured?

I have a friend who is undergoing treatment for lymphoma.
AFAIK, the treatment is ‘standard’ in the medical community, as there has been no mention of holistic or natural treatment, and, IIRC, she is going to some clinic like Mayo, or Johns Hopkins, or some place famous like that.
At any rate, I’ve heard that after 3 treatments, all signs of lymphoma have disappeared.
Does this mean anything? A few years ago, I had a friend who had cancer, then, after about a month of treatment, the tumors and all signs of cancer had disappeared, and a month later he had the tumor back, and was dead within another month. I have heard of a bunch of cases like this.

So, is the three treatment with no signs of lymphoma thing significant, or is it just a standard phase in treatment of lymphoma?


I think it’s fairly standard for many cancers these days to disappear most or all of the way upon initial treatment. The question is whether or not it comes back. If it does, it’s likely to be resistant to the treatment that was used, and will probably be nastier than before. Cancer treatment is usually a very long-term process.

This comic does a remarkably good job of explaining it.

Thanks for the response, Smeghead!

It sounds like s/he’s gone into remission. This is especially common with lymphoma or leukemia - all clinical signs of the disease are gone.

However, treatment will continue in order to destroy cancer cells that may be hiding in some nook or cranny of the body. How long a person must be cancer-free before being declared cured depends on the cancer - usually 5 years, sometimes 10.

I’m in remission from lymphoma right now but still have 3
years of “maintenance” chemo treatments to undergo before
I’m considered cure. I also had a brain tumor back in high school
but I figured I was “cured” back then as soon as the tumor
was taken out. Then again I was younger and more cocky
about my own mortality back then. Now I’m a 39 year old nurse
and don’t take anything for granted. Cancer sucks. My thoughts
and well wishes for you and your friend.

Thank you very much! And, good luck in your battle!

Also, Hodgkins or non-Hodgkins is going to make a difference, here.

I had Hodgkins. I did a straight-up 6 months of chemo, and have no recollection that they did any staging or scans other than at the beginning and the end. (They monitored me for organ damage, but not for the cancer itself.) It took two treatments for the pain to completely vanish, but we completed the entire 6 months. At the end I was in remission, and have remained so for… uuhhh, seven years now? They’ve stopped asking me for yearly CT scans, so they consider me “cured.”

But Hodgkins Disease is also WAY easier to treat than non-Hodgkins. It has something like a 95% remission rate, and 85% cure rate. Non-Hodgkins is the scary one, and from what I understand, tends to be one of the more difficult/tenacious cancers to treat. Mortality rates are a lot higher.

I had Hodgkins in 1972, and a recurrence in 1973. I have never used the word cured, and no doctor has ever used the word cured in regard to me. I figure if I die without it, I was cured.