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
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
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