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Can lymphoma come back? I'm scared.
Jun 9, 2001

I am a long term survivor who got my AIDS diagnosis back in 1988 due to lymphoma. I was treated and not have not had another episode since. Over the years I have had some success with the cocktails but like many who have been infected for a long time I find myself about out of options again. My last T cell count was around 300 with a viral load of 29,000. I'm not sure what the future holds for me at this point but even after all these years of being lymphoma free and fighting it back, I fear now that it could return. I know normally with regards to cancer that the five year mark is considered, for the most part, a cure if you remain cancer free. Does that rule also apply to an HIV/AIDS infected individual like myself with a past history of the cancer or is my situation a whole different ball game.

Response from Dr. Dezube

You ask not only a good question, but one which is packed with emotions. Many, many cancer patients live with the fear that their cancer will return. Time helps the fear, but only so much. I feel for you. You are 2-3 years out from your lymphoma. The likelihood that the lymphoma will return decreases each year that you are further out from the lymphoma. The higher the CD4 count, the less the chance of recurrence. Your CD4 count of 300 is a reasonably robust one. My best guess is that the chance that you lymphoma will come back is small, but it's not zero. No one can give you an absolute guarantee that it won't come back. Talk to your provider about your concerns. Try to stay as upbeat as possible; it helps. Good luck. BD.


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