The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
Ask the Experts About

AIDS-Related CancersAIDS-Related Cancers
Rollover images to visit our other forums!
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

Radiation of Thymus and the immune system
Mar 1, 2001

I was treated with chemo and radiation therapy for Hodgkins Disease in 1998 and am still in remission. My current physician is concerned that the area of radiation, my upper torso, covered and, therefore, destroyed my thymus. He mentioned that the thymus creates "naive" T cells and that these cells are an important arsenal in a healthy immune system. Can you please offer your opinion? Thank you very much.

Response from Dr. Dezube

You ask an excellent and tough question. There is some truth to your physician's thinking. Radiation and chemotherapy do indeed impair the immune system, and particularly thymic function. HOWEVER, most of the effects of radiation and chemotherapy are reversible. In time, your immune system will recover. The time of recovery depends on many factors, the most important one is age at time of treatment. I can't tell from your query what your age is. If you were treated for your Hodgkin's when you were young (e.g. age 15), then your immune system should recover within a year or so. If, however, you were say 60 years old, then your immune system will take years to recover, and may not ever recover fully. By and large, most Hodgkin's patients return to normal healthy lives after treatment. It is very important that you get your thyroid function tested yearly (this is done by a simple TSH blood test). Hope this helps. BD.

Body pain; eosinophils
Swollen legs, rash, question HIV

  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary



This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.

Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.

Review our complete terms of use and copyright notice.

Powered by ExpertViewpoint