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What Happens During Internal Radiation Therapy for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Internal radiation for non-Hodgkin lymphoma can be given as a drug injected into your vein. This type of treatment is called radioimmunotherapy. You get this treatment as an outpatient in a doctor's office, clinic, or in a hospital. You do not have to stay overnight, but because the treatment involves radiation, it is often more complicated than getting other drugs, such as chemotherapy. The total length of treatment is about one to two weeks.

On the first day of treatment, you get a small test dose of the drug. You will be watched closely for allergic reactions or other problems and may be given medicines to take beforehand to lower this risk. You will then get one or more special whole body scans over the next several days to make sure the drug (and its radioactivity) have spread to the right parts of the body. If the tests are normal, you then get an infusion of the full dose of the drug about a week after the test dose.

Before your treatment starts, ask your doctor about precautions you need to take or side effects you should watch for after you get treatment.

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