What should I ask my doctor about treatment if I am diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease?

Here are some questions you may want to ask: What are the expected benefits of treatment? Would a clinical trial be appropriate for me? What are the risks and possible side effects of treatment? Will treatment affect my fertility? Can I keep working during treatment? Will I have to change my normal activities? How often will I need checkups? Your doctor is the best person to give advice about working or limiting other activities, but it may be hard for some people to talk to the doctor about their feelings ...

What are the side effects of Hodgkin’s disease treatment?

The methods used to treat Hodgkin's disease are very powerful. The treatment often causes side effects, both short-term and permanent. Side effects depend on the type of treatment and on the part of the body being treated. Also, each patient may respond differently. During radiation therapy, patients may become unusually tired as therapy continues. Testing as much as possible is important. Skin reactions (redness or dryness) in the area being treated are also common. Patients should be gentle with the treat...

How is Hodgkin’s disease treated?

Treatment for Hodgkin's disease usually includes radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Sometimes, both are given. Treatment decisions depend on the stage of disease, its location in the body, which symptoms are present, and the general health and age of the patient. (Treatment of children with Hodgkin's disease is more complex and is not discussed here.) Patients are often referred to doctors or medical centers that have special interest in the different treatments of Hodgkin's disease. Patients may also want ...

How is Hodgkin’s disease diagnosed?

How is Hodgkin's disease diagnosed?If Hodgkin's disease is suspected, the doctor will ask about your medical history and will do a thorough physical exam. Blood tests and x-rays of the chest, bones, liver and spleen will also be done. Tissue from an enlarged lymph node will be removed. This is known as a biopsy. It is the only sure way to tell if cancer is present. A pathologist will look at the tissue under the microscope for Reed-Sternberg cells, abnormal cells that are usually found with Hodgkin's disease. When Hodgkin's disease is diagno...

What are the signs and symptoms of Hodgkin’s?

The most common symptoms of Hodgkin's disease are: Painless swelling in the lymph nodes in the neck, underarm or groin Fever Night sweats Tiredness Weight loss Itching skin These symptoms are not sure signs of cancer. They may also be caused by many common illnesses, such as the flu or other infections. It is important to see a doctor if any of these symptoms lasts longer than two weeks. Any illness should be diagnosed and treated as early as possible, and this is especially true of Hodgkin's disease.

What is Hodgkin’s disease?

Hodgkin's disease is a type of lymphoma. Lymphomas are cancers that develop in the lymphatic system, part of the body's immune system. The job of the lymphatic system is to help fight diseases and infection. The lymphatic system includes a network of thin tubes that branch, like blood vessels, into the tissues throughout the body. Lymphatic vessels carry lymph, a colorless, watery fluid that contains infection-fighting cells called lymphocytes. Along this network of vessels are groups of small, bean-shaped ...

Hodgkin’s disease is a type of lymphoma

Hodgkin's disease facts: The American Cancer Society estimates that about 7,350 new cases of Hodgkin's disease will be diagnosed in the United States this year. Hodgkin's disease affects women somewhat less often than men. Of those new cases, 3,370 will occur in women and 3,980 in men. Hodgkin's disease can occur in both children and adults. It is more common, though, in two age groups: early adulthood (age 15-40, usually 25-30) and late adulthood (after age 55). Hodgkin's disease is rare before 5 years of ...

How can we make curing cancer a global priority?

How do you eat an elephant?One bite at a time. I think the answer resides in the people. The more people to champion the cause, the more likely movement will be made towards a cure. There is a role for everyone. 1. Invest in the future. The children of today are the hope for tomorrow. 2. Advocate for change. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and other cancer organization make it easy for you to email letters to your elected officials. If a lot of emails arrive on a cancer issue, you bet they will look at it. ...

What advice can you offer to help me live with the effects of head and neck cancer?

After treatment for laryngeal or hypopharyngeal cancer, special help may be needed to adjust to the effects of treatment. The type and duration of side effects depends on the type and extent of treatment. Some side effects are temporary, and some are permanent. We're here to assist patients and their families in successfully managing any side effects. Doctors, nurses, dietitians and speech therapists can suggest ways to deal with side effects. It may help to talk with another patient, too. In many instances...

Clinical trial decision for head and neck cancer

Clinical trials are studies that help evaluate a new treatment. Clinical trials do two things: they attempt to answer scientific questions and they find new and better ways to help cancer patients. An institutional review board (IRB) carefully reviews each clinical trial before patients begin participating. Also, some studies are reviewed by government agencies, such as the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). A patient may or may not wish to participate in a clinical...

Besides surgery, how else are head and neck cancers treated?

Head and neck cancers are complex. Therefore, treatment options are specific to the patient and the kind and stage of cancer. Treatment often involves surgery, radiation (internal and/or external), chemotherapy or a combination of these. It's important for patients to understand the treatment options available to them, including what impact each option has on quality of life.

Since surgery is a frequently used in treating head and neck cancers, is there a risk of disfigurement?

It's true that surgery often is a treatment for head and neck cancers. That's because surgery is a good way to remove the disease, especially when the cancer has been diagnosed early. Reconstruction may be part of the treatment plan. The physician will discuss treatment options, including reconstruction, with the patient before any surgery takes place. Reconstructive surgical innovations in the past 15 years have created a positive impact on quality of life after treatment.

How are head and neck cancers staged and what, exactly, does that mean?

A staging system is a clinical evaluation, based on the best possible estimate of the extent of the disease prior to treatment. Head and neck cancers are commonly staged using the TNM system. T describes the size of the tumor. N describes the extent of the spreading to the lymph nodes. M is an indicator of metastasis or spreading of the cancer to other organs. The physician needs to know the extent, or stage, of the disease so he or she can determine the best course of treatment. Understanding staging helps...

How will a physician make a diagnosis of head and neck cancer?

If a physician suspects a head and neck cancer, he or she will order specific diagnostic tests, depending upon the location of the cancer. These tests may include: Physical examination Inspection of oral and nasal cavities using mirrors and fiber-optic scopes Examination of suspicious lesions Examination of the back of the tongue Blood tests, including a complete blood count and liver function test A blood draw to check for the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antibody measurement CT, PET, MRI imaging or X-rays Bio...

What are the warning signs of head and neck cancers?

Warning signs of head and neck cancers depend on the location of the cancer. Sometimes there are no warning signs. That's why men and women over 40 may wish to get an annual cancer-related health checkup, especially if they use tobacco or alcohol. Having any of the following symptoms for more than two weeks warrants a visit to a physician: A sore on the lip or in the mouth that does not heal A lump on the lip or in the mouth or throat A white (leukoplakia) or red patch on the gums, tongue or lining of the m...

What are the risk factors for head and neck cancers?

There are many risk factors for head and neck cancers. Age and lifestyle factors, such as alcohol and tobacco use, are the biggest. But risk factors vary, depending on the type of cancer. Laryngeal cancer Lip and oral cancer Oropharyngeal cancer It's important to note that having any or all of the known risk factors does not necessarily mean that a person will develop a head and neck cancer. On the other hand, having no risk factors does not mean that a person cannot develop a head and neck cancer, either. ...

What are the major contributing factors for head and neck cancers?

The major causes (etiologic factors) for head and neck cancers are tobacco and alcohol use, including cigarettes, cigars, snuff, chewing tobacco, betel leaf, lime, catchu and areca nut, and marijuana. Combining tobacco and alcohol use poses an even greater risk. Learn how to kick the tobacco habit. Other causes include: Viruses (herpes simplex virus and the human papilloma viruses) Genetic predisposition (further study on this issue is being conducted) Occupation (workers in nickel refining and wood- and le...

Will I be able to adjust to this disease well?

Each cancer survivor’s recovery is different, and a person’s adjustment after cancer treatment depends on a number of factors. Vulvar cancer can cause major life changes in its survivors. Treatments often affect a woman’s ability to have intercourse and to have children. It is important for women to seek support during and after cancer treatment. In fact, behavioral scientists have found that women who take advantage of a social support system, such as a cancer support group, survive with a better quality o...

Side effects of vulvar cancer chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs to fight the disease. Chemotherapy is a systemic therapy, which means the anticancer drugs travel through the bloodstream, reaching all parts of the body. In general, chemotherapy drugs affect rapidly dividing cells. The drugs kill cancer cells, but also affect other cells in the body, like cells in hair roots and cells that line the digestive tract. As a result, chemotherapy can cause hair loss, nausea, vomiting or mouth sores. Doctors can suggest diet changes or...

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