Hodgkin Disease Overview

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Treating Hodgkin Disease TOPICS

How is Hodgkin disease treated?

This information represents the views of the doctors and nurses serving on the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Information Database Editorial Board. These views are based on their interpretation of studies published in medical journals, as well as their own professional experience.
The treatment information in this document is not official policy of the Society and is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your cancer care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.
Your doctor may have reasons for suggesting a treatment plan different from these general treatment options. Don’t hesitate to ask him or her questions about your treatment options.

About treatment

This section describes the types of treatments used for Hodgkin disease. In recent years, much progress has been made in treating Hodgkin disease. For almost all patients with Hodgkin disease, cure is the main goal. Treatment is based on the stage and type of the disease, but a person’s age, overall health, and other factors are taken into account as well.

The 2 main methods of treatment are chemotherapy (chemo) and radiation. Monoclonal antibodies and high-dose chemo with stem cell transplants (discussed later) may be used for certain patients, especially if other treatments haven’t worked well. In most cases, except for biopsy and staging, surgery is rarely used to treat Hodgkin disease.

Based on your treatment options, you may have different types of doctors on your treatment team. These doctors may include:

  • A hematologist: a doctor who treats disorders of the blood.
  • A medical oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with medicines.
  • A radiation oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with radiation.

Many other experts may be involved in your care as well, including nurse practitioners, nurses, nutrition specialists, social workers, and others.

It is important to discuss all of your treatment options as well as their possible side effects with your doctors to help make the choice that best fits your needs. In choosing a treatment plan, take into account your health and the type and stage of the Hodgkin disease. Be sure that you learn about all the risks and side effects of the different treatments before making a choice.

If time permits, it is often a good idea to seek a second opinion. A second opinion can give you more information and help you feel more certain about the treatment plan that you choose. Your doctor should be willing to help you find a cancer doctor who can give you a second opinion.

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