How treatment is planned

A group of health professionals with expert knowledge in Hodgkin lymphoma will manage your treatment. This is called a multidisciplinary team (MDT).

The MDT will meet to discuss your test results and plan your treatment. They will look at a number of things, including:

  • the type of Hodgkin lymphoma, and whether it has spread
  • which parts of the body are affected
  • your general health.

Most people with Hodgkin lymphoma can be cured with current treatments. Usually, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are used. Some people may also have high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell support. 

You will need to give permission (consent) for the hospital staff to give you the treatment.

Taking a friend or relative to your appointments can help you remember discussions about your treatment. And have a list of questions ready to make sure you get the information you need.

At the hospital

In most hospitals a team of specialists will talk to you about the treatment they feel is best for you.

This multidisciplinary team (MDT) will include:

  • a haematologist, a doctor who specialises in treating blood disorders
  • medical and clinical oncologists who specialise in chemotherapy and radiotherapy
  • a radiologist, a doctor who analyses scans and x-rays
  • a clinical nurse specialist, who will make sure you get help and support throughout your treatment.

It may also include other healthcare professionals, such as a dietitian, physiotherapist, occupational therapist or counsellor.

Together, they can advise you on the best course of action and plan your treatment.

If two treatments are equally effective for your type and stage of lymphoma, your doctors may offer you a choice of treatments. Sometimes people find it hard to make a decision. If you’re asked to make a choice, make sure that you have enough information about the different options, what is involved and the possible side effects, so you can choose the right treatment for you.

Remember to ask questions about anything you feel worried about or don’t understand. You may find it helpful to discuss the benefits and disadvantages of each option with your doctor or specialist nurse. Or you can talk to our cancer support specialists.

Treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma

With current treatments the majority of people with Hodgkin lymphoma can be cured, even when the lymphoma is in several different areas of the body.

The main treatments for Hodgkin lymphoma are chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Your doctor will plan your treatment based on:

  • the stage
  • your general health
  • your type of Hodgkin lymphoma
  • which parts of your body are affected
  • the results of the blood tests you’ve had.

Your doctor will discuss your treatment with you and why it’s most suitable for you.

If you have early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma you will usually be given a course of chemotherapy before radiotherapy. If the disease is more widespread, chemotherapy is nearly always the main treatment but you may also be given radiotherapy.

If Hodgkin lymphoma doesn’t respond well to standard chemotherapy, or comes back, high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell support may be used.

Giving your consent

Before you have any treatment, your doctor will explain its aims. They will usually ask you to sign a form saying that you give permission (consent) for the hospital staff to give you the treatment.

No medical treatment can be given without your consent, and before you are asked to sign the form you should be given full information about:

  • the type and extent of the treatment
  • its advantages and disadvantages
  • any significant risks or side effects
  • any other treatments that may be available.

If you don't understand what you've been told, let the staff know straight away, so they can explain again. Some cancer treatments are complex, so it's not unusual to need repeated explanations.

It's a good idea to have a relative or friend with you when the treatment is explained, to help you remember the discussion. You may also find it useful to write a list of questions before your appointment.

People sometimes feel that hospital staff are too busy to answer their questions, but it's important for you to know how the treatment is likely to affect you. The staff should be willing to make time for your questions.

You can always ask for more time if you feel that you can't make a decision when your treatment is first explained to you.

You are also free to choose not to have the treatment. The staff can explain what may happen if you don't have it. It’s essential to tell a doctor or the nurse in charge, so they can record your decision in your medical notes. You don't have to give a reason for not wanting treatment, but it can help to let the staff know your concerns so they can give you the best advice.

Back to Who will be involved in my treatment decision?

Getting a second opinion

There are many reasons for wanting a second opinion about your treatment. Speak to your specialist or GP.