Is a Recurrence of Hodgkin Lymphoma Possible? (Learn Vital Facts)
If you have been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma or are nearing the end of treatment, you may have questions about remission, relapse and recurrence of this dreaded disease.
Remission signifies the absence of ailment; relapse signifies a recurrence of the disease after the remission period. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for Hodgkin lymphoma is 85 percent. However, relapse is still possible.
In this post, we discuss vital facts about relapse and remission in terms of Hodgin lymphoma. We also discuss the cancer treatments available in Canada for such recurrences.
Vital Facts About Recurrence or Relapse of Hodgkin Lymphoma
Here are important facts about this lymphoma you should be aware of.
Remission Does Not Mean You Are Cured
Remission signifies that this disease is no longer detectable or present in your body. For many patients, being in remission for over five years signifies that they can live the rest of their lives without this ailment returning.
It is reasonable for patients to feel comforted when they are told that they are in the remission process. However, it is still vital to test and have regular medical appointments. This is because it is hard to predict who will stay in the remission stage for the rest of their life and who will relapse.
Those who are in remission for Hodgkin lymphoma need to visit their doctor every three to six months for follow-up tests. These include PET (positron emission tomography) or CT (computerized tomography) scans.
If several years pass without any sign of relapse, you may slowly reduce the frequency of your doctor visits. After five years of post-cancer treatment, you must still visit the oncologist at least once every year to check and monitor your recovery.
Hodgkin Lymphoma Often Enhances the Risk of Having Another Form of Cancer
Those who have experienced this disease have a higher chance of developing a second kind of cancer, even when they are in remission. That is why it is vital to continue monitoring your health by visiting your doctor regularly.
Treatment for this lymphoma includes radiation as well as chemotherapy. Both these treatments enhance the risk of different types of cancer, including breast, thyroid, bone, and lung cancers as well as leukemia.
Seeing your oncologist annually and going through any recommended testing allows you to identify any sign of secondary cancer. The sooner this cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance that it can be cured effectively.
Relapse Is Not Similar to ‘Induction Failure’
There are two categories of relapse or recurrence when it comes to this type of lymphoma. The phrase ‘induction failure’ signifies what happens when patients with HL have gone through the complete course of chemotherapy but don’t observe a complete remission of their cancer. Doctors refer to this condition as refractory Hodgkin lymphoma.
The word ’relapse’ is often used when patients have completed treatment and are in complete remission but later experience a return of this cancer.
Follow-up approaches are different for both situations. You can talk to your doctor about the post-treatment analysis to gain a better knowledge of the recovery process.
Treatment Options for the Recurrence of Hodgkin Lymphoma
There are certain treatments available for refractory or relapsed lymphoma. However, these depend on several factors such as your medical history, age, and scope of recovery.
The typical treatment option is to start second-line chemotherapy which is often followed by a stem cell or bone marrow transplant. The treatment objective is to take you back into remission which should also be the goal after the initial cancer diagnosis.
Irrespective of the stage you are at in your recovery, it is advisable to start educating yourself about these vital facts about the recurrence of Hodgkin lymphoma. Here you will also learn about the kind of cancer treatment options available in Canada. Consult healthcare professionals and support groups, or check out patient experiences to learn about this ailment and how to deal with it.