Hodgkin Disease Overview

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Treating Hodgkin Disease TOPICS

Hodgkin disease in pregnancy

If a pregnant woman has Hodgkin disease, there are treatment options. The woman and her doctors must take into account the extent of the cancer, how quickly it is growing, how far along the pregnancy is, and what the woman would like.

If the cancer is found during the second half of the pregnancy and is not causing problems, a woman can often wait until the baby is born and then begin treatment. This approach is safest for the baby.

If treatment needs to be given during pregnancy, one (or more) chemo drugs may be used, based on the situation. This may be put off until later in the pregnancy (typically after the first trimester, when the baby’s organs are fully formed), if possible.

Radiation is not often given because of concerns about the long-term effects on the unborn baby. But there have been a few studies of radiation as a treatment for pregnant women with Hodgkin disease. These studies suggest that as long as very careful measures are taken to aim the radiation precisely and limit the doses used, pregnant women with Hodgkin disease in the lymph nodes in the neck, arm pit, or inside the chest may be able to have this treatment with little or no risk to the baby.

Last Medical Review: 02/05/2013
Last Revised: 02/07/2014