The Improving Prognosis for Patients with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Understandably, the diagnosis of cancer can strike fear into the heart of even the bravest men and women. The Big C can all too often become a death sentence for many people, particularly for those with advanced stages or with incurable forms.

The improvement in the prognosis of people diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma is good news, indeed! This is due to the advances in the early diagnosis and effective treatment of the cancer of the lymphatic system. These advances have in fact contributed to many of the patients’ increased chances for a full recovery.  

Of course, at the heart of the improvement in prognosis is the increasing effectiveness of the treatment methods. Here are a few of them that you can discuss with your doctor.

Chemotherapy

This drug treatment uses a cocktail of chemicals, in a manner of speaking, in killing the lymphoma cells. Since it’s usually administered via intravenous infusion, the chemicals travel through the bloodstream so it reaches nearly every area in the body.  But there are also chemotherapy drugs that can be administered as pills, although doctors can also use both intravenous and oral means.

In many, chemotherapy treatment is combined with radiation therapy for better results but it also depends on the stage. For example, in early-stage Hodgkin’s lymphoma, both can be used while in its advanced stage, it may or may not be combined.   

But there are also side effects to chemotherapy, just as you heard it from the grapevine. These can include nausea, hair loss and vomiting for the short-term period while fertility issues, lung and heart damage, and even other cancers can occur over the long-term period.  

Radiation Therapy

This treatment method uses high-energy beams in killing the cancer cells. Basically, energy beams are directed to identified points on the body, such as on the affected lymph nodes and its surrounding nodes where metastasis (i.e., spread of disease) may happen. The doctor will determine the duration, frequency and intensity of radiation therapy, usually based on the stage of the disease.

Just as with chemotherapy, radiation therapy also has its side effects. These can include hair loss and skin redness in the treatment area, as well as overall fatigue, heart disease, and infertility. Your risk for other types of cancer, such as lung cancer, may also increase.  

Your doctor may also prescribe other medications, such as prednisone, to slow down the spread of the cancer. No matter your treatment plan, you should work with your doctor in finding the best possible methods in your case. You may even consider a stem cell transplant when all other options don’t work as well as expected.  

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