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NCCN Guidelines for Patients


Hodgkin Lymphoma, Version 1.2015

Chemotherapy is given in cycles of treatment days

followed by days of rest. This allows the body to

recover before the next cycle. Cycles vary in length

depending on which drugs are used. Often, a cycle is

3 or 4 weeks long.

Chemotherapy may consist of one or more drugs.

When only one drug is used, it is called a single

agent. However, not all drugs work the same way,

so often more than one drug is used. A combination

regimen is the use of two or more chemotherapy

drugs. Most often, Hodgkin lymphoma is treated with

combination regimens.

Parts 4 and 5 are guides that explain who should

receive which treatments. You will learn which

regimens and how many cycles may be part of your

treatment. Chemotherapy is sometimes given in high

doses and followed by stem cell transplant. Read on

to learn more about this treatment.

Side effects of chemotherapy

Side effects are unhealthy or unpleasant physical or

emotional responses to treatment. The reactions to

chemotherapy differ between people. Some people

have many side effects. Others have few. Some

side effects can be very serious while others can be

unpleasant but not serious. Most side effects appear

shortly after treatment starts and will stop after

treatment. However, other side effects are long-term

or may appear years later.

Side effects of chemotherapy depend on many

factors. These factors include the drug type, amount

taken, length of treatment, and the person. In general,

most side effects are caused by the death of fast-

growing cells. These cells are found in the blood, gut,

hair follicles, and mouth. Thus, common side effects

of chemotherapy include low blood cell counts, not

feeling hungry, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss,

and mouth sores. Lung damage may also occur at the

time of treatment. Late side effects include another

type of cancer, heart disease, low levels of thyroid

hormones (hypothyroidism), and problems having

babies (infertility).

Not all side effects of chemotherapy are listed here.

Please ask your treatment team for a complete list of

common and rare side effects. If a side effect bothers

you, tell your treatment team. There may be ways to

help you feel better. There are also ways to prevent

some side effects.


Steroids are a type of drug that is often used to

relieve inflammation. However, some steroids have

anti-cancer effects. Steroids used to treat Hodgkin

lymphoma are listed in

Chart 3.1 on page 25.

Steroids are a part of some chemotherapy regimens.

They are given on the same days as chemotherapy

but only for a few days or a week. All are pills but

dexamethasone can also be injected.

Most side effects of steroids fade away once the

drugs are stopped. Common side effects include

feeling hungry, trouble sleeping, slow wound healing,

upset stomach, and swelling in the ankles, feet, and



Overview of cancer treatments Chemotherapy | Steroids