How Are Young Adults With Hodgkin Lymphoma Impacted by Treatment?

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Topics include: Ask the Expert

When can young adults with Hodgkin lymphoma return to work or school after treatment? Hodgkin lympoma experts Dr. Joshua Brody, from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Dr. Andrew Evens offer, from Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, offer insight to the duration of therapy, side effects and recovery. Dr. Evens also describes the impact of treatment on older and relapsed Hodgkin lymphoma patients. Watch now to find out more.

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

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, Dr. Brody, when you have parents like us with a 20-something sitting across from you, and the kid—I say the “kid,” but the young adult—they just wanna go for it, they wanna treat it, they wanna go on with their life, and the parents are worried sick with that first phase, hopefully, where it’s gonna—what do you tell them about the kid’s gonna be able to go on with their life?

Dr. Brody:            

We sometimes have to give those parents a Valium and then address the fact that we have done, thankfully, so well and have made so much progress in lymphomas, especially as compared to other cancers. You shouldn’t just think, “Oh my God, cancer,” you should think about this specific cancer, where we’ve had a lot of success.

Quite honestly, we have a trick we can sometimes do, which is we have so many survivors, many of them offer to volunteer to meet by email, by phone, or in person with some of those people just getting started on the journey, and it is such a consolation to see someone who’s a year out, their hair grew back, they resumed going to college or resumed their job, and they’re living a pretty normal life. So, just seeing it can be –

Andrew Schorr:  

And, during this time with the younger person, will they—how will their life be disrupted, and for how long?

Dr. Brody:            

I’ll give an answer; I’ll see if Andy agrees. For people that are in college full-time or working full-time, we can frequently keep these people in their normal life, but there’s usually some effect. Sometimes people will be working part-time, sometimes people will take a little time off of college or take some classes less than they’d otherwise planned. At the very least, when we finish this in what can be sometimes four or six months of therapy, they should be bouncing back to their life quite quickly, even if they’re not quite at 100 percent.

Andrew Schorr:

I always think of this story—I don’t know if you know him—there’s a fellow in Seattle who is a specialist, particularly for MPNs and other myeloid conditions, Bart Scott. In med school, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s. So, I think he took a year off, and he got through the treatment, and he went back to med school, and he’s been helping a lot of patients and has lived himself.

Now, what about for the person who’s a little older or maybe needs that second treatment? What can they expect about how long they’re gonna be out of commission, if you will?

Dr. Evens:             

It’s similar to younger patients. The hope is you really try to get it the first time because it’s not impossible to do an autologous transplant for relapsed older patients, but it does get a little harder. So, the platform tends to be similar. It’s the chemotherapy. Sometimes, we’ll not give the bleomycin (Blenoxane), because we’re worried about that.

And then, we are trying to integrate that targeted therapy, the brentuximab vedotin. There’s some discussion—should it be given the same time or sequentially before and after? But, what I would say is it’s probably true for most older patients with lymphoma. It’s gonna be a little more impactful to how they operate their lives, but it’s still—it depends on the patient. If we have a really fit 65-year-old, I’ve had even older Hodgkin’s patients still work full-time.

Now, maybe at a little reduced capacity—the treatment is usually once every two weeks, so it’s not a huge inconvenience from that standpoint, but it definitely impacts them a little more, and sometimes they’ll take some time off, but if you can get into remission, like Dr. Brody said, the immune system is amazing in our bodies. It does bounce back really quick. There certainly can be fatigue that can last a few months. It’s usually the last thing to recover in terms of the treatment.

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.

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Page last updated on September 9, 2019