Coping With Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Treatment

Summary

Coping With Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Treatment is a challenging task for both the patients and the patient’s family. Patients with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma have to cope with various physical and emotional side effects as well as the financial aspect of cancer treatment.

Introduction of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

From diagnosis to post-treatment (survival), overcoming Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL) is challenging for patients and caregivers. Patients in this period require emotional support to deal with the shock of diagnosis and the rigours of treatment, strategies to reduce physical symptoms and side effects and dependence on others to provide help.

Coping with physical side effects of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Each treatment option for Hodgkin’s lymphoma has several common physical side effects. Changes in your physical health depend on many factors, including the stage of the lymphoma, the duration and dosage of treatment, and general health.

Patients should talk to the healthcare team regularly about how they are feeling. It is necessary to inform the patients about new side effects or changes in existing side effects. If the doctors know how they are feeling, they can find ways to reduce or manage the side effects to make the patient feel more comfortable and to prevent the side effects from getting worse.

Tracking side effects can be helpful, making it easier for the healthcare team to interpret the changes.

Sometimes, physical side effects may persist even after treatment is stopped. Doctors call this a long-term side effect. They refer to side effects that occur months or years after treatment as late effects.

Coping with emotional and social effects

After being diagnosed with cancer, the patient can be emotionally and socially affected. This may include overcoming difficult emotions such as sadness, anxiety, or anger or managing stress levels. Sometimes patients find it very hard to express their feelings towards a loved one. Some people have found that talking to an oncology social worker, counsellor, or pastor can help them develop more effective coping methods and talking with cancer.

Coping with the costs of cancer care

Cancer treatment can be expensive. It is often a major cause of stress and anxiety for cancer patients and their families. In addition to the cost of treatment, many believe that additional unplanned costs are associated with treatment. High medical costs prevent some people from following or completing a cancer treatment plan. This puts their health at risk and can lead to higher costs in the future. Patients and families are encouraged to discuss financial matters with the health care team members​1​.

Disease Side Effects of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Discomfort and other symptoms that often occur during cancer treatment can result from both the disease and the treatment itself. The patients need to keep the health care provider up-to-date on what they are experiencing so that the doctors and the patients can work together to find the cause of the symptoms.

Sleep Problems

Adequate rest is very important for healing, but many people with HL have cancer-related insomnia. The patient should talk to the healthcare provider about how to treat possible sleep problems. Fatigue can be caused by illness and anaemia due to bone marrow suppression (a common side effect of chemotherapy).

Itchy Skin

About 30% of people with Hodgkin’s lymphoma experience persistent and very annoying itching. It is called “Hodgkin’s itch”, which can be difficult to get rid of. Some people get relieved by medications such as antidepressants and antihistamines. Alternative therapies (massage, acupuncture, and medications) may also be helpful​1,2​.

References

  1. 1.
    Lymphoma – Hodgkin: Coping with Treatment. Cancer.net. Published 2020. Accessed March 2022. https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/lymphoma-hodgkin/coping-with-treatment
  2. 2.
    Eldridge L. Coping With Hodgkin Lymphoma. verywellhealth. Published 2020. Accessed March 2022. https://www.verywellhealth.com/living-with-hodgkin-lymphoma-coping-and-support-4137227