It's important that your doctor is experienced in treating patients with Hodgkin lymphoma or works in consultation with a Hodgkin lymphoma specialist. This type of specialist is called a hematologist oncologist.
For many people with Hodgkin lymphoma, starting treatment helps them focus on moving ahead and looking forward to recovery. A look at the treatment success rate can be encouraging: More than 75 percent of all patients can be cured. That rate rises to 90 percent for younger patients. Hodgkin lymphoma is considered one of the most curable forms of cancer.
Types of Treatment
Doctors use several types of approaches and treatment combinations for adults and children with Hodgkin lymphoma, some at different stages:
- Chemotherapy and drug therapy
- Involved field radiation therapy
- Stem cell transplantation
- Your doctor may suggest that you participate in a clinical trial. Clinical trials can involve therapy with new drugs and new drug combinations or new approaches to stem cell transplantation.
Adults of childbearing age and parents of children diagnosed with HL should ask their doctors for information that may lessen the risk for infertility. See the free LLS publication Fertility Facts for more details.
Finding the Best Treatment Approach
The goal of Hodgkin lymphoma treatment is to cure the disease.
The treatment your doctor recommends is based on several factors, including:
- Your disease subtype
- Your disease stage and category
- Whether your disease is either relapsed or refractory
- Your overall health and whether you have any conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, lung disease, diabetes or anemia
- Whether you're pregnant
As you develop a treatment plan with your doctor, be sure to discuss:
- The results you can expect from treatment
- Potential side effects, including long-term effects and late-term effects
- The possibility of participating in a clinical trial, where you'll have access to advanced medical treatment that may be more beneficial to you than standard treatment
You may find it helpful to bring a loved one with you to your doctor's visits for support, to take notes and ask follow-up questions. It's a good idea to prepare questions you'd like to ask when you visit your doctor. You can also record your conversations with your doctor and listen more closely when you get home.
Click here to download lists of suggested questions to ask your healthcare providers.
Other Treatment Considerations
- If you're age 60 or older, your treatment may vary from standard approaches. For instance, your body may not be able to tolerate toxic chemotherapy drugs or you may have other ailments that are more common as we age. These factors, among others, may make choosing a treatment more complicated.
- If your child is being treated for Hodgkin lymphoma, therapy may differ slightly from that of the average adult. See Childhood Hodgkin Lymphoma.