Quick Guide to Chemotherapy Treatment for Hodgkin Lymphoma
Chemotherapy (or chemo) literally means therapy with chemicals. It involves the use of anticancer drugs to destroy cancer cells, which prevents them from multiplying. Your healthcare provider will typically look at various factors before deciding whether this is the right way to go. For instance, your symptoms, test results, the stage of the lymphoma, your age, and overall general fitness will be taken into account.
While the course of chemotherapy treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma may differ by individual, it is typically made up of several cycles. Treatment may be advised over one to three days, but this depends on the combination of drugs used and the extent of the cancer’s spread. Patients are usually allowed to take breaks for a few weeks to allow their bodies to recover from the effects of chemotherapy before starting another cycle. Treatments are often given in a clinic, a doctor’s office or a hospital outpatient department. In some instances, the patient may require a hospital stay.
Keep reading for more important information on chemotherapy treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma.
What to Know About Chemotherapy Treatment for Hodgkin Lymphoma
Chemotherapy treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma is a critical part of the recovery regime for most patients. Here, we examine some important information about it.
How is chemotherapy treatment given?
Most commonly, chemotherapy treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma is given to patients intravenously, so by an IV inserted into a vein. Alternatively, your doctor may prescribe pills or give the medication as an injection. Patients can visit a hospital and get treatment as an outpatient, meaning patients can go home the same day.
This treatment is given in cycles over a specific period, which means the medication is given only for a set amount of time and then the patient has a rest period. Every period of treatment and rest is considered one cycle. Depending on the stage, patients are asked to undergo several cycles of treatment. Receiving treatment in cycles can help patients by:
Giving Their Mind a Rest
Chemotherapy treatment for lymphoma can be stressful for patients, their caregivers, and families. By ensuring breaks between cycles, patients receive an emotional break between procedures.
Giving Their Body a Rest
Chemotherapy can be hard on your cells, including healthy ones lining your stomach and mouth. During treatment, these healthy cells may become damaged, resulting in mouth sores, nausea or an upset stomach. By allowing your body to rest between cycles, your cells will have a chance to recover, resulting in an easing off of the aftereffects.
Killing More Cancer Cells
Chemotherapy treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma aims to kill active cancer cells in a patient’s body. However, since the cancer cells aren’t dividing all the time, treating them in multiple cycles increases the chance of success.
What are some common side-effects of chemotherapy?
Some of the most common short-term and long-term side-effects of chemotherapy treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma include:
- Loss of appetite
- Hair loss
- Feeling sick
- Losing weight
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Bruising easily and bleeding
- Lower resistance to infections
- Skin problems
- Lung damage
- Fertility problems
- Heart damage
The aftereffects of chemotherapy treatment for lymphoma depend on the drugs you are prescribed, your dosage, and how your body reacts. While most side-effects only last a few days, it’s recommended that you speak to your healthcare provider if the condition persists. Your treatment team will help manage the symptoms of the side-effects.
Chemotherapy treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma can be difficult to cope with. But with the right support system and treatment plan, you can get through it. These days, most individuals being treated for Hodgkin lymphoma, especially during the initial stages, can be cured and remain disease-free for many years. We hope the general information provided here will help you or a loved one who may be suffering from Hodgkin lymphoma be better prepared.