Treatment: Understanding your Hodgkin lymphoma treatment

Your treatment outlook

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Treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma is often successful and many people are cured. 

The success of your treatment depends on a number of factors, such as:
•    the type of Hodgkin lymphoma you have 
•    how far your cancer has spread
•    your age
•    your general health
It is important to remember that every person is different and all cancers are unique – they can grow at different rates in different people and some treatments work very well in some people and not so well in others. Statistics cannot account for all of the different treatments patients have, or for how these different treatments might affect the likely course of disease. Your doctor is best placed to talk to you about the potential outcomes of your treatment.

Types of treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma

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The main types of treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma are chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Sometimes, chemotherapy is combined with steroids. Surgery is not normally used to treat Hodgkin lymphoma.

Many things can affect the treatment you receive, such as the stage of your lymphoma, your general health, age and fitness, and whether you have ‘B symptoms’ or bulky disease.

Treatment for early stage Hodgkin lymphoma usually involves a short course of chemotherapy. You may also have radiotherapy directed at the affected lymph nodes. Your doctor will discuss with you the best treatment for your situation.

If you have advanced stage Hodgkin lymphoma you will probably have chemotherapy, with or without steroids. You may also have radiotherapy to shrink groups of lymph nodes if they are very big or if the doctors think they may be causing some of your symptoms. 

If your Hodgkin lymphoma has come back (called ‘recurrent’ or ‘relapsed’) or does not respond to treatment (called ‘refractory’), you may have more chemotherapy with different drugs. You may also have more radiotherapy. Stem cell transplants are usually reserved for patients with recurrent Hodgkin lymphoma.

You and your healthcare team will need to make several decisions together about your treatment, so finding out as much as you can about your Hodgkin lymphoma may help you feel more confident about your decisions. You can find lots of information about the different types of treatment in the resources section below.

Click here for further relevant material about treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma.

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