Can Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Kill You?

Lymphoma is treatable and with the proper diagnosis and treatment, the 5-year survival rate is high. The fatality of lymphoma depends upon the stage in which it is diagnosed and the response of patient to the treatment. If the lymphoma is metastasized, more aggressive treatment is required.

Can Hodgkin's Lymphoma Kill You?

Can Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Kill You?

Hodgkin’s lymphoma is absolutely treatable. The survival rate of any disease is defined as the number patients survived for a given time period after diagnosing with that particular disease. The 1-year survival rate of lymphoma is approximately 92% while the 5-year survival rate is approximately 80 to 82%. As Hodgkin’s lymphoma progresses in to advanced stage the survival rate drops and also the relapse of the disease is more frequent. The treatment and the survival of the patient suffering from Hodgkin’s lymphoma depend upon the stage in which the disease has been diagnosed, the treatment regimen advised by the oncologist and the response of the patient towards the treatment. The International Prognostic Index has outlined various factors that decide the prognosis of lymphoma. These factors include age, stage, blood level of lactate dehydrogenase, metastasis of lymphoma and the performance status of the Hodgkin’s lymphoma patient.

With the most modern diagnostic techniques and the advanced treatment regimens and many drugs in the pipeline of the pharmaceutical companies, lymphoma is no longer a disease of high fatality, provided the diseased should be diagnosed early and the patient should immediately consult the physician in case of any symptoms. With the use of FDG-PET technique, the tumor is readily diagnosed. The treatment regimens for Hodgkin’s lymphoma have been significantly changed in the last few years and many treatment options such as immunotherapy and stem cell transplant have been added in the artillery of the oncologists. The oncologists are feeling far more confident than never before because of the latest technologies in their hands. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is now no longer carries a tag of “sure fatal”. With proper care and therapies such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy, it is possible to completely cure lymphoma with low frequency of relapse.

Stages of Lymphoma

On the basis of symptoms presented by lymphoma, it is divided in to various stages. This classification of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, on the basis of symptoms or characteristics, is termed as staging. Staging is required to decide the appropriate treatment regimen for the patient and also to evaluate the prognosis of the disease. As Hodgkin’s lymphoma progresses to advanced stage the survival rate of the patients gets reduced. Following are the various stages of Hodgkin’s lymphoma:

  1. Stage I: Stage I is characterized by the fact that the lymphoma is present either only in a single lymph node or a lymphoid organ such as thymus.
  2. Stage II: Stage II is characterized by the presence of lymphoma at multiple lymph nodes, all of those are present either below or above the diaphragm.
  3. Stage III: In Stage III, lymph nodes with lymphoma are present on either side of the diaphragm and the lymphoma also involves lymphoid organs.
  4. Stage IV: The Stage IV lymphoma involves an extranodal organ such as liver, lungs or bone marrow.

Advanced Treatment of Lymphoma

With the continuous research and the advancement in both the diagnosis and treatment, the lymphoma is now no more a non-curable disease. Following are the advanced treatment for lymphoma:

  • Chemotherapy: Drugs such as bendamustine and pralatrexate are latest drugs used to treat lymphoma.
  • Biological drugs: Biological drugs for targeted therapy are also another option for treatment. Drugs such as duvelisib and tenalisib show promises in the initial clinical trials.
  • Vaccine: The research is done to synthesize a vaccine for lymphoma. However, this is very naïve concept and is currently under research and clinical trial.


With the advanced diagnostic techniques such as FDG-PET and the advanced treatment options such as immunotherapy and stem cell transplant, along with various drugs in the pipeline, lymphoma is no longer a killer disease. Even the prognosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the advanced stages is quite favorable and the relapse rate is also taking a slide.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 25, 2021

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