What Are Long-Term Effects of Hodgkin’s Lymphomas?

Long-term effects of Hodgkin lymphoma and its treatments can vary depending on factors such as the individual’s overall health, the stage of the disease, and the specific treatments received. Some potential long-term effects include:

  1. Secondary cancers: Certain treatments, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, can increase the risk of developing secondary cancers later in life. These can include cancers of the lung, breast, thyroid, and others.
  2. Cardiovascular problems: Radiation therapy and certain chemotherapy drugs may increase the risk of cardiovascular issues such as heart disease, heart attacks, and heart failure.
  3. Infertility: Some chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy can damage reproductive organs, leading to infertility or reduced fertility in both men and women.
  4. Thyroid problems: Radiation therapy to the neck area can damage the thyroid gland, leading to hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) or other thyroid disorders.
  5. Lung problems: Radiation therapy to the chest area can increase the risk of lung problems such as inflammation, scarring, and breathing difficulties.
  6. Neurological issues: Certain chemotherapy drugs can cause nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy), leading to numbness, tingling, and pain in the hands and feet.
  7. Cognitive effects: Some individuals may experience cognitive changes, memory problems, or difficulties concentrating, often referred to as “chemo brain” or “chemo fog.”
  8. Emotional and psychological effects: Coping with a cancer diagnosis and its treatment can have long-term emotional and psychological effects, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  9. Bone problems: Radiation therapy and certain chemotherapy drugs can weaken bones, increasing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
  10. Immune system dysfunction: Treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma can weaken the immune system, leading to an increased risk of infections, both during and after treatment.