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My brother Has lymphoma; Is it worth it to go through all the treatments?
Aug 12, 2001

My brother is 50 yrs old and has been HIV+ for over 15 yrs and on various treatments for 10 yrs. His CD4 cells are nada; his viral load over 200,000. He has just been diagnosed with stage 2 lymphoma and is scheduled to begin chemo and radiation soon. He is considering not doing it because of the potential side effects. Right now, he's anemic and has problems with bone marrow production. Is chemo and radiation worth it at this point? Do persons in his general health really benefit from treatment? He wants my advice, but I don't know what to say. Thanks, Jill.

Response from Dr. Dezube

Dear Jill: You ask a very emotion-packed question. Should your brother undergo therapy for lymphoma or should he "throw in the towel"? There's no way I can really answer this for your brother. In general, lymphoma is VERY treatable; i.e. it responds well to chemotherapy and/or radiation. I therefore encourage my patients with lymphoma, at the very least, to try the treatments. Your brother has the right to change his mind at any time. I imagine your brother has been through a lot-- 15 years HIV positive, no CD4 cells, high viral load. I'm sure he's had a long, long time to think of the challenge which is now before him. He is lucky to have a supportive sister like you. I wish him and you luck in this trying time. BD.

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