Treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma includes radiotherapy, chemotherapy and bone marrow or stem cell transplant. In most cases, radiotherapy and chemotherapy can be combined to increase the chance of recovery.
However, to choose an appropriate treatment, your doctor can consider your age, sex and the stage of the cancer. If you have a stage I or II Hodgkin’s lymphoma, it can be effectively treated with radiation therapy. In case of a stage III or IV Hodgkin’s lymphoma, your oncologist can treat you with chemotherapeutic medications alone. In advanced cancers with many nodules, a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy will be used. If the disease returns after treatment, bone marrow or stem cell transplant can be the most effective alternative.
Chemotherapy drugs used in the treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma include:
ABVD – ABVD is a chemotherapy protocol used to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma; it is currently considered as the preferred treatment of the disease. Drugs used in the ABVD regimen include Adriamycin (doxorubicin), bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine.
BEACOPP – this is a common and effective chemotherapy regimen used in the treatment of advanced Hodgkin’s lymphoma; it includes bleomycin, etoposide, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, procarbazine and prednisone
Stanford V – this is another chemotherapy regimen designed to treat Hodgkin’s disease; it consists of doxorubicin, vinblastine, mechlorethamine, etoposide, vincristine, bleomycin and prednisone.
COPP/ABVD – this regimen is less popular than ABVD; it includes cyclophosphamide, vincristine, procarbazine, prednisone, doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine.
MOPP – this protocol consists of mechlorethamine, vincristine, procarbazine and prednisone.
Radiation therapy aims to destroy cancer cells present in a very specific organ or body area, unlike chemotherapy. Unlike many types of cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma responds well to radiotherapy. Most early stage Hodgkin’s lymphomas are treated effectively with radiation therapy. However, some types of radiation therapy can lead to serious side effects:
- thyroid disorder
- pulmonary infection
- coronary artery stenosis
- acute leukemia
- breast cancer
- lung cancer
- gastrointestinal cancer.