Hodgkins Disease

Recovery & Follow Up

People who have had Hodgkin's disease should have regular follow up examinations after their cancer treatment is over and for the rest of their lives. Follow up cancer care is an important part of the overall treatment process, and people who have had Hodgkin's disease or another form of cancer should not hesitate to discuss it with their health care provider. Patients treated for Hodgkin's disease have an increased chance of developing leukemia; non-Hodgkin's lymphoma; and cancers of the colon, lung, bone, thyroid, and breast. Regular follow up care after the completion of cancer treatment ensures that patients are carefully monitored, any changes in health are discussed, and new or recurrent cancer can be detected and treated as soon as possible. Between follow up appointments, people who have had Hodgkin's disease should report any health problems as soon as they appear.

It is natural for anyone facing a diagnosis of Hodgkin's disease to be concerned about what the future holds. Understanding the nature of cancer and what to expect can help patients and their loved ones plan treatment, anticipate lifestyle changes, and make quality of life and financial decisions.

Patients with Hodgkin's disease frequently ask their doctors or search on their own for statistics to answer the question, "What is my prognosis?" Prognosis is a prediction of the future course and outcome of a disease and an indication of the likelihood of recovery from that disease. However, it is only an estimate. When doctors discuss a patient's prognosis, they are attempting to project what is likely to occur for that individual patient. The prognosis for Hodgkin's disease can be affected by many factors, particularly the stage of the cancer, the patient's response to treatment, and the patient's age and general health.

Sometimes people use statistics on Hodgkin's disease to try to figure out their chances of being cured. However, statistics reflect the experience of a large group of patients. They cannot be used to predict what will happen to a particular patient because no two patients are alike; cancer treatment and responses vary greatly. The doctor who is most familiar with a patient's situation is in the best position to help interpret statistics and discuss the patient's prognosis.

When doctors talk about surviving cancer, they may use the term remission rather than cure. Although many people with Hodgkin's disease are successfully treated, doctors use the term remission because cancer can return. It is important to discuss the possibility of recurrence with the doctor.

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