Understanding Hodgkin Lymphoma -- Diagnosis and Treatment
What Is the Treatment for Hodgkin Lymphoma?
The goal of treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma is to eradicate the lymphoma cells without damaging normal cells in order to minimize treatment side effects. Talk with your doctor about any treatment-related side effects you experience.
The most common treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma is chemotherapy (drugs). The use of radiation therapy has diminished over the years.
Patients with Hodgkin lymphoma that is resistant to treatment or returns after initial treatment may need autologous stem cell transplantation. In this procedure, higher doses of chemotherapy or total body irradiation are applied in an effort to destroy Hodgkin lymphoma cells that have survived standard therapy. As a side effect, the higher doses of therapy are likely to destroy normal blood and bone marrow cells. Therefore, normal bone marrow stem cells are taken from the patient’s bloodstream before he or she undergoes chemotherapy or radiation. The stem cells are then frozen and saved and returned to the body intravenously after the treatment in order to repopulate the bone marrow.
A new drug, brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris), is designed to treat patients whose lymphoma has progressed after treatment with bone marrow stem cell transplantation or those who have had two chemotherapy treatments and are not eligible for transplant. It's the first new drug approved to treat Hodgkin lymphoma in nearly 35 years.
Survival Rates of Hodgkin Lymphoma
The five-year survival rate refers to the percentage of patients, according to the stage of their disease at diagnosis, who live at least five years after treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma. Many of these patients live longer than five years.
Stage I: 90%-95%
Stage II: 90%-95%
Stage III: 85%-90%
Stage IV: about 65%
Long-term health problems may occur after being treated for Hodgkin lymphoma, including leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, breast cancer, heart disease, thyroid disease, lung disease, lung cancer, and infertility. Therefore, it is essential that patients who have been treated for Hodgkin lymphoma receive annual physical exams, as they may need to be screened for other diseases. Seek medical attention for any new, serious, or unexplained symptoms that don't go away.