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 1 to 2 weeks.

On the first day of treatment, you get a small dose of drug that does not contain any radiation as an infusion into a vein (IV). You will be watched closely for allergic reactions or other problems and will be given medicines to take beforehand to lower this risk. About a week later, you get another dose of this drug without radiation. Within a few hours you then get the radioactive form of the drug, which is given into a vein over about 10 minutes. 

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