Relapsed Follicular Lymphoma

Relapsed Follicular Lymphoma: Everything You Need to Know

Follicular lymphoma, a form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, is a slow-growing cancer of the lymphatic system, the body's network of tissues and organs that fight off infections. In some cases, however, the cancer can become resistant to treatment or relapse, causing it to become aggressive or spread to other parts of the body. Relapsed follicular lymphoma is a challenging and often complex condition.

There are many treatments for relapsed follicular lymphoma, including chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and stem cell transplantation. In some cases, a combination of treatments may be used. The selection of a particular path of treatment depends on the stage and severity of the cancer, other medical conditions, and individual patient preference.

Here’s what you need to know about this type of cancer and its treatments:

What Is Relapsed Follicular Lymphoma?

Relapsed follicular lymphoma is a type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in which the cancer has come back after initially responding to treatment. It usually occurs within 3 to 5 years of initial diagnosis, although it can happen sooner or later. The cancer may have gotten worse, become more aggressive, or spread to other parts of the body.


The symptoms of relapsed follicular lymphoma depend on where it has spread in the body, but common symptoms include:

  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin
  • Painless, firm lumps that may appear under the skin
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Itching
  • Shortness of breath

Diagnosis and Treatment of Relapsed Follicular Lymphoma

Relapsed follicular lymphoma is diagnosed with a physical exam and blood tests. Imaging tests, such as X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, and PET scans may also be done to determine the cancer's stage and spread. A biopsy may be performed to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment depends on the stage and severity of the cancer and the patient's overall health. Options include:

  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses powerful drugs to kill cancer cells. It is often used to treat lymphomas that have spread to other parts of the body.
  • Targeted Therapy: Targeted therapy uses drugs that target the proteins that are active in cancer cells. These drugs may be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy.
  • Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy uses drugs or agents that boost the body's own immune system to combat cancer cells. It may also be used in combination with chemotherapy.
  • Stem Cell Transplant: A stem cell transplant is a procedure that starts with the harvesting of stem cells from the patient's bone marrow. The cells are then used to rebuild the patient's immune system after the standard chemotherapy has been completed.

Living With Relapsed Follicular Lymphoma

Living with relapsed follicular lymphoma can be difficult, but there are many resources available to help. Support groups, education programs, and online forums can provide information and support. Additionally, talking to a health care professional can provide more information on the type of treatment available and what to expect from it.