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Radiation therapy for Hodgkin lymphoma

radiation therapy

Radiation therapy for Hodgkin lymphoma

We use radiation therapy to destroy lymphoma cells, to prevent the cells from spreading, and/or to relieve pain or discomfort caused by an enlarged spleen or swollen lymph nodes. For Hodgkin lymphoma patients, radiation treatments are commonly given to lymph nodes in the neck, chest, underarms, abdomen, spleen, pelvis, and/or groin.

Your care team may combine radiation with other Hodgkin lymphoma treatments, like chemotherapy, to prevent the growth of new cancer cells.

Helping you manage radiation-induced side effects

Depending on your radiation dose, site, and other factors, radiation therapy for Hodgkin lymphoma may cause certain side effects. It can lower white blood cell count, which increases the risk of infection. Other potential side effects include: fatigue, nausea, dry mouth, skin reactions, and fertility problems (from radiation to the pelvic area).

As you receive treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma, your care team will work with you to manage these radiation-induced side effects. We’ll monitor your blood counts regularly. If needed, you’ll receive therapies to stimulate your blood cell production and prevent or treat infection.

You’ll also receive integrative oncology services like nutrition therapy, naturopathic medicine, pain management, oncology rehabilitation and mind-body medicine. These therapies help keep you strong so you can continue treatment while participating in your everyday activities.

What is radiation therapy?

Radiation therapy uses targeted energy (e.g., X-rays, radioactive substances) to destroy cancer cells, shrink tumors, and/or alleviate certain cancer-related symptoms. It may be used:

  • As a primary treatment to destroy cancer cells
  • In combination with other treatments to stop the growth of cancer cells
  • Before another treatment to shrink a tumor
  • After another treatment to stop the growth of any remaining cancer cells
  • To relieve symptoms of advanced cancer

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), our radiation oncologists are experienced in using advanced technologies to deliver targeted radiation therapy while also proactively managing side effects.

Types of radiation

Some radiation therapy delivery methods include:

  • External beam radiation therapy – radiation is directed from a machine outside the body onto cancerous cells within the body. (Examples: 3D conformal radiation therapy, IMRT, IGRT, TomoTherapy, stereotactic radiosurgery)
  • Internal radiation therapy – radioactive material is placed (via a catheter or other carrier) directly into or near a tumor. (Example: high-dose rate brachytherapy)
  • Systemic radiation therapy – a radioactive substance (that is swallowed or injected) travels through the blood to locate and destroy cancerous cells. (Example: radioactive iodine therapy)

Experienced care team

Our radiation oncologists specialize in delivering maximum radiation doses to tumors with less damage to healthy tissues and organs. Our radiation oncologists will work closely with you and the rest of your care team to deliver radiation therapy based on your individual needs.

Individualized treatment approach

Radiation therapy is an important part of treatment for many of our patients. Since each cancer type requires a different approach, your treatment plan will be based on your unique needs and treatment goals.

Our radiation oncologists use advanced imaging techniques before and during radiation treatment so we can closely track the tumor. We use highly targeted radiation technologies to deliver maximum radiation doses to tumors, with less impact on healthy tissues and organs. Thereby, we can often provide options to patients who have reached their maximum tolerated dosage of traditional radiation.

Depending on your individual needs, you may receive radiation therapy alone or in combination with other treatment modalities like surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and/or immunotherapy. Throughout your treatment, your radiation oncologist will monitor the effectiveness of the radiation therapy and modify your treatment plan accordingly.

Managing radiation side effects

Typical radiation therapy can be damaging to the body and cause unpleasant side effects, such as skin changes, fatigue, nausea, and other side effects, depending on the part of your body being treated. During your radiation treatment, clinicians from a variety of integrative oncology services will work with you to reduce side effects and improve your quality of life.