Approaches to the treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma vary depending on the stage of its development. At early stages of the disease, the preference is given to radiation therapy, and at later stages to drugs. The maximum effect in combating the tumor process is obtained due to the use of several cytostatic drugs with different mechanisms of action.
Treatment requires a comprehensive examination of the patient. During the first visit, the physician clarifies complaints, examines the lymph nodes and reviews the case history. The following tests are also prescribed:
- complete blood count,
- blood chemistry with a complete hemogram,
- cytogenetic analysis,
- abdominal ultrasound,
- comprehensive CT/MRI.
Guided by the findings, the expert evaluates the general condition of the patient and develops an optimal medication regimen.
The chemotherapy course consists of several cycles, the number of which in each case is determined individually. There is a 2 to 3 week break between cycles, intended for recovery. In total, the treatment can last 2 to 6 months.
Typically, the first cycle is performed in the clinic setting, and the rest, provided a good tolerability of cytotoxic drugs, on an outpatient basis.
The drugs are administered intravenously and orally. As regards side effects, the patients commonly report:
- hair loss,
- ulceration of the mouth mucous membranes,
- immune system weakening.
A symptomatic therapy is prescribed to correct the violations. During the treatment course, the patient enjoys a continuous support of the clinic staff.
Different combinations of drugs are used in different cycles. Along with cytostatics, the corticosteroid hormones are also administered. Upon therapy completion, the patient is examined by the oncologist who provides recommendations for further action.