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

After Hodgkin disease is found and staged, the cancer care team will discuss treatment options with you. Treatment for Hodgkin disease is based mainly on the stage of the disease. But other factors, including a person’s age and health, and the type and location of the disease, can also affect treatment options. For almost all patients with Hodgkin disease, cure is the main goal.

The 2 main methods of treatment are chemotherapy (chemo) and radiation. Monoclonal antibodies and high-dose chemo with stem cell transplants 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 might 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 might be part of your treatment team as well, including physician assistants (PAs), nurse practitioners (NPs), nurses, nutrition specialists, social workers, and others. See Health Professionals Associated With Cancer Care for more on this.

It is important to discuss all of your treatment options, including their goals and possible side effects, with your doctors to help make the choice that best fits your needs. In choosing a treatment plan, think about your health and the type and stage of the Hodgkin disease. It’s also very important to ask questions if you’re not sure about something. You can find some good questions to ask in the section “What are some questions I can ask my doctor about Hodgkin disease?

If time allows, 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 you choose. Your doctor should be willing to help you find a cancer doctor who can give you a second opinion.

Last Medical Review: 08/19/2014
Last Revised: 01/13/2015