Carolyn Vachani, RN, MSN, AOCN
The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: October 27, 2005
Historically, patients with early stage Hodgkin's Disease were treated with radiation therapy alone. More recently, chemotherapy has been added to the standard regimen for these patients. This study treated 87 patients with stage I to IIA Hodgkin's disease without high-risk symptoms (fevers, night sweats, greatly enlarged lymph nodes) with radiation alone. The study had 13 patients relapse, and these patients were able to achieve remission with chemotherapy at the time of relapse. The 10-year overall survival was 98.2%. Five patients developed second cancers (4 breast cancers), 2 of whom died as a result. It appears that radiation alone is an option for carefully selected early stage patients. The risk of second cancers is of concern, particularly the breast cancer risk for women. We await the long-term outcomes of studies looking at chemotherapy and radiation in these patients. If effects are similar, treatments may change for this group of patients.