About Your Chemotherapy Treatment for Lymphoma

This information explains what you should know when you start chemotherapy treatment for lymphoma at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK). It includes information on when to call your healthcare provider and what you should avoid during your treatment.

Your nurse will give you information about your chemotherapy treatment. It includes information about the medication you’ll get and the side effects you may have during your treatment. To learn how to manage chemotherapy side effects, read the resource Managing Your Chemotherapy Side Effects.

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What to Avoid During Chemotherapy

During your chemotherapy treatment, you need to avoid the following:

  • Getting some vaccines. There are some vaccines that you shouldn’t get during your treatment, such as live vaccines. But there are others that your healthcare provider will recommend you get, such as the influenza (flu) or Pneumovax® (pneumonia) vaccines. If you need to get a vaccine, you should get it before you start chemotherapy.
    • If you want to get the COVID-19 vaccine, talk with your healthcare provider first.
    • If you know someone who recently got a live vaccine (such as rotavirus or chicken pox), talk with your healthcare provider. Ask them if it’s okay for you to be near this person.
  • Being near someone who has an infection or had an infection recently.
  • Getting dental work that isn’t needed unless your healthcare provider says it’s okay. This includes routine cleanings.
  • Taking aspirin, medications that contain aspirin, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®) and naproxen (Aleve®).
  • Taking over-the-counter medications (medications you buy without a prescription) unless your healthcare provider says it’s okay.
  • Taking certain vitamins and supplements. Some vitamins and supplements may affect your treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any vitamins or supplements you’re taking.
  • Using enemas (liquid put into your anus to cause a bowel movement), suppositories (medication that’s inserted through your anus), and rectal thermometers.
  • Becoming pregnant or getting your partner pregnant.
  • Sunbathing. If you need to be in the sun, use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Wear long-sleeved shirts, hats with wide brims, and scarfs. Stay in the shade as much as possible.
  • Getting your nails done (manicures and pedicures).
  • Going in hot tubs.
  • Traveling long distances. If you must travel, talk with your healthcare provider first.
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When to Call Your Healthcare Provider

Call your healthcare provider if you have any of the following:

  • A fever of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher
  • Signs of infection, such as:
    • Diarrhea (loose or watery poop)
    • Needing to urinate (pee) more often than usual
    • Burning during urination (peeing)
    • Red, swollen, or tender area(s) on your skin or on your arms or legs
    • Flu-like symptoms, such as:
      • Chills
      • Muscle or body aches
      • Headaches
      • Cough
      • Sore throat
      • Runny nose
      • Vomiting (throwing up)
      • Fatigue (feeling more tired and weak than usual)
  • Signs of bleeding, such as:
    • Black stool (poop) or blood in your stool
    • Bruising
    • Faint red rash
    • Bleeding from your nose
  • You haven’t had a bowel movement (poop) in 2 days
  • You’re unable to tolerate eating or drinking
  • You have any new or worsening pain
  • You have problems with your teeth or mouth
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Contact Information

If you have any questions or concerns, contact your care team. You can reach them Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at the following numbers:

Contact Name/Phone Number
Advanced Practice Provider  
Office Coordinator  

If you need to reach a healthcare provider after 5:00 pm, during the weekend, or on a holiday, call 212-639-7900. This phone number is for the After-Hours Telephone Triage (AHTT) call center. The AHTT is for MSK patients who have urgent symptoms related to their cancer care. For more information, read the resource About After-Hours Telephone Triage at MSK .

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