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What Should Hodgkin Lymphoma Patients Know About Survivorship?

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Published on May 8, 2019

“What we call a good problem to have; as we cure more people, the more survivors we have to take care of,” says Hodgkin lymphoma expert Dr. Joshua Brody, from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. What should Hodgkin lymphoma patients be mindful of during survivorship? What does a survivorship care plan look like? Watch now for a glimpse at long-term considerations for survivors, risk factors post-treatment and recommendations for secondary cancer screenings.

This program is sponsored through a grant from Seattle Genetics. This organization has no editorial control. It is produced solely by Patient Power.

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Transcript | What Should Hodgkin Lymphoma Patients Know About Survivorship?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That's how you’ll get care that's most appropriate for you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Andrew Schorr:  

So, a few years ago, we did a video discussion with some younger patients who needed second-line treatment. The first-line had not worked. And, about six months ago, I got a call from the parents of one of the women we’d featured some years ago, and she had developed flu-like symptoms, and was hospitalized, and unfortunately died. So, it was very tragic, and my question is for this younger person, who maybe had a lot of treatment, as they go on later in their life, are there certain things they need to be mindful of in their survivorship plan and their discussion with their doctors? Because maybe their immune system had been damaged in some way different from the person who’d not had that.

Dr. Brody:            

Sure. So, survivorship is a crucial world in all of oncology, perhaps even more in Hodgkin’s lymphoma where we have all these young patients who, God willing, will be living for 70 to 80 more years, so survivorship is an even bigger issue for these patients. So, there are some absolutely important issues. Andy alluded to a couple of them with just a few examples.

So, if patients receive radio therapy to their chest, which is a common area for Hodgkin’s when it’s early-stage disease, both men and women have this risk future of atherosclerotic coronary vessel heart disease, so, just being very rigorous about minimizing cardiac risk factors—aspirin, cholesterol therapy, whatever is needed to make their cardiac risk as low as possible.

You think that’s mundane compared to cancer, but that is what Americans die from. I don’t wanna get in trouble with McDonald’s, but avoiding Big Macs, bacon, cigarettes, and other things we can do to keep our hearts healthy—those are all crucial parts of survivorship for Hodgkin’s patients. Also, especially with young women, sometimes part of the breast can be in the radiotherapy field, so the risk of later breast cancers, as Andy alluded to, is a real thing.

Esther Schorr:     

So, mammography, all those…

Dr. Brody:            

…so, mammography…

Dr. Evens:

But, there are special recommendations. So, it usually depends who you look at. There are different recommendations. It’s not consistent across the board—different American Cancer Society, et cetera. Usually, eight years afterwards, you’ll want to think about it, and if it’s a younger patient, sometimes an MRI, and sometimes we’re not as good—we’re so much into diagnosing and treating.

Thankfully, there are some survivorship experts and even survivorship clinics that are opening up, and we need more research there, but they do have somewhat decent guidelines, and it’s somewhat—again, based on the patient, the treatment, should you have an echocardiogram—and, you don’t wanna do it if you don’t have to, so we need better guidelines, but it is something we need to keep looking at.

Esther Schorr:     

It seems like the whole idea of survivorship and managing being a survivor is just gonna be a bigger and bigger specialty.

Dr. Brody:            

That’s what we sometimes call a good problem to have. As we cure more people, we have more survivors that we have to take care of.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.