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Hodgkins; is my scar tissue normal?
Feb 10, 2002

I tested HIV+ 5 years ago (CD4 240; viral load 25,000). Started HIV drugs and have been on those meds ever since. In November 2000 I was diagnosed with Hodgkins. I had to go through chemotherapy for approximately 1 year. The initial treatment failed as the cancer shrunk, then grew. After another 8 months of chemo - the cancer appears to be in remission; however, there is scar tissue left in my chest. The scar tissue is 3cm x 2cm and has not grown. Is this scar tissue normal? The doc just did another ct scan and it showed that the scar tissue was getting more dense?? Is the survival rate of Hodgkins in HIV patients good?

Response from Dr. Dezube

Congratulations on getting through all the chemotherapy; that's no small feat. When the Hodgkin's cancer cells die after chemotherapy, it is not unusual for them to form scar tissue. Sometimes the scar tissue is all dead tumor cells, but sometimes the scar tissue unfortunately hides live cells. The best way to find out if you have any active scar tissue is to have a gallium scan (have you had one?). Gallium is a material which only lights up if you have active, live tumor cells. If your health provider performs a gallium scan and if it is does not show anything, then most likely all your scar tissue is dead.

The survival rate of Hodgkin's patient with HIV is pretty good. I have many many patients who have been successfully cured by chemotherapy. It is VERY important that you stay on your HIV meds since that will help keep you Hodgkin's from coming back, though obviously we can't give any guarantees. Good luck. BD

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