Hodgkins Disease (cont.)
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Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) for Hodgkin lymphoma uses high-energy rays to kill lymphoma cells. It can shrink tumors and help control pain.
A large machine aims the rays at the lymph node areas affected by lymphoma. This is local therapy because it affects cells in the treated area only. Most people go to a hospital or clinic for treatment 5 days a week for several weeks.
The side effects of radiation therapy depend mainly on the dose of radiation and the part of the body that is treated. For example, radiation to your abdomen can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. When your chest and neck are treated, you may have a dry, sore throat and some trouble swallowing.
In addition, your skin in the area being treated may become red, dry, and tender. You also may lose your hair in the treated area.
Many people become very tired during radiation therapy, especially in the later weeks of treatment. Resting is important, but doctors usually advise people to try to stay as active as they can.
Although the side effects of radiation therapy can be distressing, they can usually be treated or controlled. You can talk with your doctor about ways to ease these problems.
It may also help to know that, in most cases, the side effects are not permanent. However, you may want to discuss with your doctor the possible long-term effects of radiation treatment. After treatment is over, you may have an increased chance of developing a second cancer. Also, radiation therapy aimed at the chest may cause heart disease or lung damage.
Radiation therapy aimed at the pelvis can cause infertility. Loss of fertility may be temporary or permanent, depending on your age:
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Hodgkin's Disease - Symptoms Question: What were the early symptoms of your Hodgkin's disease?
Hodgkin's Disease - Diagnosis Question: What types of tests and exams led to a diagnosis of Hodgkin's disease?
Hodgkin's Lymphoma - Share your Experience Question: Do you, a friend, or relative have Hodgkin's? Please share your experience.
Hodgkin's Disease - Treatment Question: What types of treatment, including medication, have you received for Hodgkin's disease?
Hodgkin's Disease - Diet and Exercise Question: What diet and/or exercise program do you follow to maintain your weight and good health?
Hodgkin's Disease - Follow-Up Care Question: Regular checkups are vital in the treatment of Hodgkin's. What kinds of follow-up care do you receive?