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Hodgkin lymphoma

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Treatment of stage I Hodgkin lymphoma

The following are treatment options for stage I Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). The types of treatments given are based on the unique needs of the person with cancer.


Chemotherapy is the primary treatment for stage I HL. Combination chemotherapy is used to treat HL.

The most common combination of chemotherapy drugs is ABVD:

  • doxorubicin (Adriamycin)
  • bleomycin (Blenoxane)
  • vinblastine (Velbe)
  • dacarbazine (DTIC)

Usually chemotherapy is followed by radiation therapy to the initial site of the disease (involved field radiation). Less often, chemotherapy is given alone. If radiation therapy is given after chemotherapy, fewer cycles of ABVD may be needed.

A CT scan or positron emission tomography (PET) scan is often done after a few cycles of chemotherapy to see how well the treatment is working and to determine how much more chemotherapy is needed.

Radiation therapy

External beam radiation therapy may be offered for stage I HL. It is given after chemotherapy to the areas where the HL was initially found or before chemotherapy to shrink a large tumour. Radiation therapy may be given alone:

  • if the person cannot tolerate chemotherapy because of other health issues
  • if the HL is localized in a small area of lymph nodes
  • for nodular lymphocyte predominant HL when no B symptoms are present

Clinical trials

People with HL may be offered the opportunity to participate in clinical trials. For more information, go to clinical trials.


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