How Long Is Chemotherapy For Hodgkin’s Lymphoma?

Lymphoma, which includes both Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s, are having a high cure rate. Various treatment options are available, chemotherapy been the best one. Various chemotherapy strategies are available which comprises the combination of drugs to provide a synergistic effect.

How Long Is Chemotherapy For Hodgkin’s Lymphoma?

Chemotherapy is the treatment option at the hands of the oncologists to cure the cancer. There are various drugs used in chemotherapy, which kills the cancer cells by stopping the cell cycle. The length of the chemotherapy depends upon various factors. One of the important factors for deciding the length of therapy is the stage of the disease at which chemotherapy is given. More advanced the cancer is, more is the number of cycles of chemotherapy. Also, the chemotherapy involves the combination of the drugs to maximize the effect with minimum side effects. Further, the treatment cycle also depends upon the age of the patients and presentation of B symptoms.

Different treatment strategies have different cycles and also same treatment strategy have different cycles for different patients. In some cases, simultaneous use of radiotherapy is done along with chemotherapy. The treatment therapy of Stage I and II without bulky disease is as follows:

  1. If the patient does not have elevated ESR greater than 50 mm/hour, nodal regions are less than 3 and there is no extranodal disease, then 2 cycles of AVBD (Adriamycin® (doxorubicin), Bleomycin, Vinblastine and Dacarbazine) is required along with radiotherapy.
  2. If the patient has elevated ESR greater than 50 mm/hour, nodal regions are greater than or equal to 3 and there is an extranodal disease, then 4 cycles of AVBD (Adriamycin® (doxorubicin), Bleomycin, Vinblastine and Dacarbazine) is required along with radiotherapy.

However, if there is a stage I and II Hodgkin’s lymphoma with bulky disease, the treatment will be approximately 6 cycles of AVBD along with radiotherapy. The chemotherapy cycle may be done with the gap of 2-4 weeks depending upon the disease so that the patient may recover from the side effects of chemotherapy.

If the Hodgkin’s lymphoma is in stage III and IV, the treatment should be done with 6 cycles of AVBP along with radiotherapy.

If there is a Lymphocyte Predominant Hodgkin’s Disease Stages III, IV, the treatment may be done with 3-6 cycles of R-CHOP.

In the similar way, treatment with BEACOPP also depends upon the stage of the disease. The treatment with BEACOPP is done for up to 8 cycles, each cycle is of 21 days, thereby taking approximately six months.

Thus, the length of the treatment depends upon the stage of the disease. Advanced stage requires lengthy treatment duration as compared to earlier stages. Further, the use of the chemotherapy strategy also defines the length of treatment.

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Treatment

Various treatment options are available for the management of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The treatment options may be combined with the main treatment strategy which is generally the chemotherapy. Following are the treatments for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma:

Chemotherapy: Various chemotherapy strategies such as AVBD and BEACOPPS are currently used by the oncologist for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Drug combination is used to minimize side effects.

Radiotherapy: Radiotherapy is generally used as a adjuvant to chemotherapy and is highly effective in reducing the time of treatment.

Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy is also used wherein the drug increases the immune system of the body and enhances its power against cancer cells.

Steroids: The steroids such as dexamethasone and prednisone are used to increase the efficacy of chemotherapy and reducing the side effect of these drugs.

Surgery: Surgical removal of the tumor is required in some cases.

Conclusion

The length of the treatment through chemotherapy depends upon the cycles of chemotherapy. There is gap of approximately 2-4 weeks between the cycles to provide time for recovering from the side effects of chemotherapy. Generally time taken by the chemotherapy is almost 6-8 months and other treatment options are also used to reduce the time and number of cycles of chemotherapy.

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