New Clinic Helps Lymphoma Survivors Stay Healthy

By Andrea Peirce,

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Through careful monitoring and expert care, MSK’s Lymphoma Survivorship Clinic helps people who’ve survived lymphoma stay healthy by watching for long-term effects of treatment such as heart disease, second cancers, and problems with thinking and memory.

  • More people than ever are living longer after surviving lymphoma.
  • Delayed health effects from treatment for the disease are common, however.
  • MSK’s Lymphoma Survivorship Clinic helps people effectively manage their long-term health.
Matthew J. Matasar, MD

Thanks to major advances in the understanding and treatment of lymphoma — one of the nation’s most commonly diagnosed cancers — more people than ever are enjoying productive lives for years and even decades after being declared free of the disease. But doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering and elsewhere have also found that over the course of time, many of these individuals develop complications from the treatment they received.

Even with improvements in approaches to radiation and chemotherapy, people may experience permanent damage that increases the risk for heart disease, skin cancer, lung conditions, and other illnesses.  

 “Since we know that many of our patients may experience long-term problems, we decided to initiate a program that could help quickly identify and address them,” explains hematologic oncologist Mathew Matasar. “And through clinical trials and other research, we’re looking for even more ways to keep our survivors healthy.” 

Dedicated to Long-Term Survivors

Begun in 2014 and housed within the Lymphoma Service at MSK’s 64th Street Outpatient Center, the Lymphoma Survivorship Clinic welcomes MSK survivors of all ages, as well as people initially treated for the disease at other institutions. Unlike MSK’s Adult Long-Term Follow-Up Program (ALTFU) tailored to survivors of a range childhood (and some young adult) cancers, the clinic’s sole focus is survivors of lymphoma. The clinic starts caring for people as soon as three years after they end treatment.    

Depending on such factors as the types of treatments survivors received and their general health when they were diagnosed with lymphoma, Dr. Matasar and two physician assistants in the clinic monitor survivors for:
  • heart disease
  • the development of second cancers such as breast, lung, and skin cancer and leukemia
  • thinking and memory problems (commonly known as “chemobrain”)
  • lung health
  • bone health
  • stroke
  • problems with teeth and gums
  • reduced thyroid function
  • dry eyes, cataracts, and other eye issues
  • emotional and psychological health

Lymphoma Survivorship Clinic Appointments

Call 212-639-5324 to schedule a visit with us.

And since the clinic is embedded in a comprehensive cancer center, “we’re prepared not only to give people the latest in care, screening, and surveillance, but also to easily send them to our other MSK experts if needed — people at the top of their field in survivorship issues such as heart, lung, and reproductive health,” explains Dr. Matasar.

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Evidence-Based Expertise

As part of MSK’s larger program in cancer research and survivorship, the clinic is also able to offer access to clinical trials and other research that can help people facing the late effects of lymphoma treatment.   

Current investigations are asking such questions as:

It’s high time that lymphoma survivors get a specialized clinic of their own such as this, explains Dr. Matasar. “In part because the clinic is right here, embedded in our Lymphoma Service, we can deliver just the kind of care these patients need.”

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My husband is a N H L survivor for much over 12 years. He was discharged by his doctor, Dr. David Strauss, successfully cured! We never were informed about this follow up program! He has some complications with balance and it has been suggested that this was caused by the chemo? Any way he can be assessed at this time?

John, thank you for reaching out. We suggest you call the survivorship clinic at 212-639-5324 to see whether you can schedule a visit for assessment.

My Son was diagnosed with NHL in Feb. 2012. Chemo, radiation, stem-cell transplant. Late 2013, he was diagnosed with Stage 3B Melanoma. Oh how I wish his oncologist had not told him it is nothing to worry about when my Son showed him an area of concern on his leg. Hence, 3B Melanoma. All oncologists should be aware of second cancers. It would have saved my Son a lot of suffering. He is now taking interferon for one year.

Mary, we're sorry that your son is going through this. Thank you for sharing your story.

Does this clinic include both Hodgkins and Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma survivors?

The clinic is for survivors of all lymphomas, Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin. Thank you for your comment.

Congratulations for your work! I write from Italy. I was affected by Nhl mantle cell in sept 2014 and I went through chemo and stem-cell transplant (april 2015) actually involded in follow-up exam (bone biopsy, citogenetic, PET). How can you help me in my next step?

Thank you for reaching out. If you are interested in coming to Memorial Sloan­ Kettering or having records reviewed, you can contact our International Center by calling 1­-212-­639­-4900 or going to­care/international­patients. The email address is


Dear Harry, yes, our Lymphoma Survivorship Clinic is for people who have been treated here at MSK. Thank you for reaching out to us.

I was seen by Dr. Carol Portlock of MSK in 2013 for my Hodgkins. Dr. Portlock had the final say on my treatment & I had my 12 chemo treatments in Little Silver, NJ near my house. Am I allowed to join the Lymphoma Clinic?

Dear Adelina, please contact Dr. Portlock's office to discuss if you are eligible to receive follow up care through MSK's lymphoma clinic or if a different survivorship plan is more appropriate for you. Thank you for reaching out to us.

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