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Special radiation therapy improves survival in patients with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

In recent years, the use of radiation as a treatment process for patient’s suffering from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma has somewhat declined, but now research has shown that consolidated radiation therapy (radiation treatment after the cancer has disappeared following the initial round of therapy) can improve the ten-year survival rate with stage I or stage II Hodgkin’s Lymphoma following on from chemotherapy treatment.

The overall use of radiation therapy for patients with the early stages of Hodgkin’s lymphoma has decreased from 56% to 41% between 1998 and 2011 – the main reasons being cited as it not being considered a progressive part of the patient’s treatment plan.

However, after the results of the study it is hoped that doctors and medical professionals treating patients with Hodgkin’s lymphoma will begin to utilise the radiation treatment after chemotherapy treatment in order to help patients increase their long-term survival.

Previous trials testing the effect of consolidated radiation therapy have been limited by their low participant levels and limited follow-ups, so the effect of the therapy on long-term survival could not be properly examined. This new study, carried out at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York City in America, has used a significantly bigger sample size of Hodgkin’s lymphoma patient’s within their experiments – 41,502 people suffering from the disease were selected from a national database before undergoing different types of treatment methods before being followed up for years after they had taken part in the trial.

“Given the survival benefit demonstrated in this study, radiotherapy should be included in the combined modality approach of chemotherapy followed by consolidated radiotherapy in order to maintain high overall survival rates for this curable disease.” said the research leader Rahul Parikh.

Currently, the overall 5-year survival rate for people with Hodgkin’s lymphoma is around 83%, with ten year-survival predicted as 77.5%.

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