Radiation therapy field
The main types of treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma are:
- Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Chemotherapy for Hodgkin's is described in detail on the Hodgkin's Chemotherapy Page.
- Bone marrow and peripheral blood transplants
- Bone marrow transplantation (BMT) and peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (PBSCT) are the use of high doses of chemotherapy with a rescue of the immune system afterwards. More on the Transplantation Information Page.
- Immunotherapy is being studied in Hodgkin's treatment including monoclonal antibody therapy (such as rituxan) and vaccine therapy may not be far off.
- Radiation therapy
- Radiation for Hodgkin's treatment usually comes from a machine outside the body (external beam radiation therapy). Radiation therapy given to the neck, chest, and lymph nodes under the arms is called radiation therapy to the mantle field. Radiation therapy given to the mantle field and to the lymph nodes in the upper abdomen, the spleen, and the lymph nodes in the pelvis is called total nodal irradiation. Radiation therapy may be used alone or in addition to chemotherapy. Radiation has been used in early stage disease or in later stages directed at bulky disease (areas where there are large tumors). With the effectiveness of current chemotherapy, radiotherapy may be limited to unresponsive disease or very localized disease. Current medical literature should be examined and talk to your medical team.
Clinical trials are often used for people who are not responsive to conventional treatment or who wish to help researchers test new therapies. New therapies may include variations on chemotherapy drug combinations or the addition of immunotherapy for example.
Several types of therapy may be combined - for example immunotherapy is being studied in conjunction with traditional chemotherapy drugs to make them work better. Likewise, depending on disease presentation, radiotherapy may be added to chemotherapy.
Prior to treatment, the doctors may perform additional tests to measure such things as heart function (MUGA) and pulmonary (lung) function (Pulmonary Function Test). This sets a baseline to determine if lung or heart function is impacted by the treatment.
To learn more about pretreatment testing, see: