Awareness and vigilance about checkups and screenings is key.
Anyone who has received treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma needs to understand–and stay up to date on–the late effects that may result. Years later, symptoms can appear that signal a potential health problem.
Cardiovascular disease is in a special category: radiation therapy directed at the chest area combined with the chemotherapy medications that typically are prescribed can lead to damage over time. Effective treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma often comes with a price, which is why awareness, follow-up and regular screenings are essential
“Patients need these therapies; there is no doubt about that,” says Tochi Okwuosa, DO, Director of the Cardio-Oncology Program at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and Chair of the Cardio-Oncology Committee for the American Heart Association. “But cancer physicians need to be aware of the cardiovascular side effects, and patients must be aware so they can advocate for themselves and be quick to say: ‘These are the health issues I have; here are the concerns I have about the future.’ And they need to be sure they are seeing the right physician.” (See the list of potential cardiovascular side effects below.)