The main treatments
The main types of treatment are
- High dose treatment with bone marrow or stem cell transplant
Some people only need one type of treatment. Others need a combination of treatments. You may have steroids alongside chemotherapy, depending on which chemotherapy drugs you are having. People with the rare lymphocyte predominant type of Hodgkin lymphoma may have a type of biological therapy called rituximab.
Planning your treatment
- The stage of Hodgkin lymphoma you have
- Whether you have B symptoms or not
- Your test results
- The type of Hodgkin lymphoma you have
- Your general health and fitness
- Your age
Age is included because large trials have shown that people over 50 do not always do as well as younger patients and so may need more intensive treatment.
B symptoms (fevers, sweating and weight loss) are included in the staging for Hodgkin lymphoma. If you have these, your doctor will add a B to the number stage of your disease. So stage 2 with B symptoms, means you have stage 2B Hodgkin lymphoma. If you don’t have these symptoms, your stage would be 2A.
When deciding on treatment, doctors group the stages of Hodgkin lymphoma together. They call anything up to stage 2A early disease. Stages 2B and above are classed as advanced disease.
Before you start treatment your doctor will talk to you about your fertility.
Before you start treatment your doctor or specialist nurse may recommend that you have flu and pneumonia vaccinations. The vaccinations help to protect you from these infections if you have low immunity during treatment.
Early stage Hodgkin lymphoma
If you have early stage disease, you will probably have a short course of chemotherapy. Your doctor may then recommend radiotherapy to the affected lymph nodes. You may also have radiotherapy to your spleen or other lymph nodes. If you have very early, localised disease and are not able to have chemotherapy for any reason, you may just have radiotherapy to the affected lymph nodes.
Advanced stage Hodgkin lymphoma
For advanced stage disease, you are most likely to have chemotherapy with or without steroids. You may also have radiotherapy to particular groups of lymph nodes if they are very enlarged or causing troublesome symptoms.
If your lymphoma comes back
If your lymphoma does not respond
Fertility and cancer treatment
We have a section on fertility and chemotherapy.
Your treatment team
- A haematologist or medical oncologist (a specialist in treating lymphoma)
- A pathologist (a specialist in looking at biopsy samples)
- A transplant specialist
- A clinical oncologist (a specialist in radiotherapy)
- A specialist cancer nurse
- A pharmacist, social worker, psychologist and counsellor.