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2nd time around for Hodgkin's disease-- oh no
Jul 6, 2003

I have stage 2b hodgkins disease. I went to four treatments of ABVD and then stopped because I got so sick. It's been a year and the cancer in my neck is growing. It is about the size of a quarter on all three places (underarm too) So I decided to start chemo again and finish it this time. My Doc says the chances arent as good for a cure because I stopped chemo and the cancer probably developed resistance to the chemo. I asked him to give me a percentage and he said "less then 10 percent chance of cure" I know it's different with each person but that sounds low to me. I am 28 years old 6'2" and weigh 200 pounds. I feel fine. But my wife is pregnant with our first child and I want to be there for him/her. 4 treatments and it's been about a year since I stopped. I want to go and finish all twelve this time. The cancer is under my arm and on my neck on the same side of my body. What do you think?

Response from Dr. Dezube

You are not without hope. It's never pleasant to be diagnosed with cancer. It's even less pleasant to know that it has come back. Although you don't state whether or not you are HIV positive (Have you been checked???), I will assume for this query that you are not HIV positive. In the unlikely event that you haven't been checked, then please get checked immediately and write back to me with the result.

So what should you do now? You may indeed respond to ABVD therapy again. If you got so sick with the first treatments, speak to your oncologist to see if you could take medicines to alleviate some of your symptoms. Some oncologists would try to give you a wholly different type regimen (e.g. regimens called MOPP or British-MOPP). Assuming you are HIV negative, then you may be a candidate for a stem cell transplant. That might be the best way to assure that you cancer won't come back for a third time. I do not believe that your chance of a cure is as low as less than 10%. You have a considerably better chance. You have a lot to live for (new child). Hang in there buddy.


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