Hodgkins disease

  • What is Hodgkins disease?

Hodgkins disease is a type of lymphoma. Like most other lymphomas, it usually arises from the lymph nodes. Very rarely organs can be involved.

  • At what age does it occur?

It can occur in younger children as well as in adults.

  • What is the difference between Other lymphomas (Non Hodgkins) and Hodgkins lymphoma?

Basically the difference is from the cell of origin. Other than that, these lymphomas should be considered equivalent to intermediate grade non hodgkins lymphomas and so treatment should be directed towards a complete cure.

  • How is the severity of Hodgkins disease assessed?

The severity is assessed by staging and also by various other modalities like white cell count, albumin, presence of constitutional factors like fever, weight loss etc. Your doctor will tell you whether you belong to good, intermediate or poor prognostic type.

  • Is the treatment of Hodgkins similar to other non-hodgkins lymphomas?

Not entirely. Since the biology of these tumours are slightly different, they are managed with different combination of drugs.

Again, in olden days these cancers were treated with radiotherapy alone. But now either only chemotherapy or combination modalities are used to achieve a complete cure.

Depending on the severity, aggressive treatment may be needed in some patients.

  • What happens during chemotherapy?

You may experience some side effects such as hair fall, tiredness, loss of appetite during chemotherapy. Since side effects may vary with each drug, your doctor will brief about the drugs. However, the general thing is you can lead a normal life inbetween the courses, except that you

  • May have to modify the diet so as to avoid indigestion, constipation etc. Bland diets, plenty of vegetables and fruits are helpful. Remember, you can take ice creams, yoghurt etc (which do not cause respiratory infections as commonly perceived) provided you are not a diabetic. You do not have to eat a normal diet. Losing some weight during therapy is of no concern.
  • You may have to take more rest (or more sleep) than usual, but remember, that you have to keep yourself active in between and avoid being bed ridden
  • If you get any fever, or signs of infections such as severe cough, diarrohea you have to contact your doctor (and follow the precautions advised) immediately
  • How do I know whether I am progressing well during treatment?

You will be monitored during treatment with scans and biochemical parameters. PET scans are useful to know the response much earlier in many of the Hodgkins and Non Hodgkins lymphomas.  PET scans tell us about disease activity. So,if they become negative we know that we are on top of the disease. On the other hand, if it is active, even if the disease has disappeared by normal scans you may require intensive treatment.

  • Is there a option for bone marrow transplant in Hodgkins?

Stem cell transplants are indiated upfront in Hodgkins. However, if the disease recurs, most of them may need autologous stem cell transplants.

Very rarely allogenic transplants are indicated in patients with refractory disease.

Department of Hemato oncology,

Amended on Dec 14th, 2014 @VNCC, GKNM by Dr Suthanthira kannan,

Amended on 2nd Nov, 2016 @ Coimbatore Kidney centre by Dr Suthanthira Kannan

Coimbatore heamatology
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