Hodgkins Disease (cont.)
In this Article
- Hodgkin's lymphoma facts*
- What is Hodgkin's lymphoma?
- What are Hodgkin's lymphoma causes and risk factors?
- What are Hodgkin's lymphoma symptoms and signs?
- How is Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosed?
- How is the staging determined for Hodgkin's lymphoma?
- What is the treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma?
- Chemotherapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma
- Radiation therapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma
- Stem cell transplantation for Hodgkin's lymphoma
- How do people get a second opinion for Hodgkin's lymphoma?
- Nutrition during cancer treatment
- What happens after treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma?
- What other support is available for cancer patients?
- Clinical trials for Hodgkin's lymphoma
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
Chemotherapy for Hodgkin lymphoma uses drugs to kill lymphoma cells. It is called systemic therapy because the drugs travel through the bloodstream. The drugs can reach lymphoma cells in almost all parts of the body.
Usually, more than one drug is given. Most drugs for Hodgkin lymphoma are given through a vein (intravenous), but some are taken by mouth.
Chemotherapy is given in cycles. You have a treatment period followed by a rest period. The length of the rest period and the number of treatment cycles depend on the stage of your disease and on the anticancer drugs used.
You may have your treatment in a clinic, at the doctor's office, or at home. Some people may need to stay in the hospital for treatment.
The side effects depend mainly on which drugs are given and how much. The drugs can harm normal cells that divide rapidly:
- Blood cells: When chemotherapy lowers the levels of healthy blood cells, you are more likely to get infections, bruise or bleed easily, and feel very weak and tired. Your health care team gives you blood tests to check for low levels of blood cells. If levels are low, there are medicines that can help your body make new blood cells.
- Cells in hair roots: Chemotherapy may cause hair loss. If you lose your hair, it will grow back, but it may be somewhat different in color and texture.
- Cells that line the digestive tract: Chemotherapy can cause poor appetite, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, or mouth and lip sores. Ask your health care team about medicines and other ways to help you cope with these problems.
Some types of chemotherapy can cause infertility:
- Men: Chemotherapy may damage sperm cells. Because these changes to sperm may be permanent, some men have their sperm frozen and stored before treatment (sperm banking).
- Women: Chemotherapy may damage the ovaries. Women who may want to get pregnant in the future should ask their health care team about ways to preserve their eggs before treatment starts.
Some of the drugs used for Hodgkin lymphoma may cause heart disease or cancer later on. See the Follow-up Care section for information about checkups after treatment.
You may want to ask your doctor these questions before having chemotherapy:
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