Fast-Track Your Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment with Adcetris
Cancer is a tragic plague that wracks our world with suffering. Most Americans have been impacted by this horrific disease in a personal or professional way. Hodgkin Lymphoma is a blood cancer that invades the lives of thousands every year, but the tragic fact about this type of cancer is that it usually targets young adults. Hodgkin Lymphoma is not in the spotlight often due in part to its rarity and the fact that treatment for newly diagnosed patients didn’t change for over 40 years. Fortunately, Adcetris offers new hope for Hodgkin Lymphoma treatment.
What is Hodgkin Lymphoma?
Hodgkin Lymphoma (HL) is a blood cancer whose devastation begins in the white blood cells called lymphocytes which are an integral part of the immune system. According to the Lymphoma Coalition, over 62,000 people are diagnosed with HL worldwide every year. During 2018, statistics show that approximately 8,500 people will be diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma and 1,050 will die from the disease. Tragically, up to 30% of advanced-stage Hodgkin Lymphoma patients will see their disease worsen after initial treatment.
Interview with Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment Specialist and Patient Courtesy of Seattle Genetics
There is hope for those suffering from Hodgkin Lymphoma. Recently treatment for Hodgkin Lymphoma took a turn for the better. I had the distinct honor and privilege of conducting an interview with Dr. Robert Chen, associate professor at the City of Hope’s Department of Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation in Los Angeles and his patient, Jeremy Hernandez, a film and TV student who was diagnosed with advanced-stage Hodgkin Lymphoma and can attest to the power of recent medical advances in the treatment of Hodgkin Lymphoma.
Kaitlin: Hi! Thank you for agreeing to do the interview today. I'm just going to start with an introduction. Most of us have been impacted by cancer in some way, whether it is ourselves, a loved one or friend or coworker. Dr. Robert Chen is here today to talk about Hodgkin Lymphoma or HL, a type of blood cancer that affects thousands of people in the US each year, less commonly in early adulthood. He's joined by Jeremy Hernandez who has been living with advanced stage Hodgkin Lymphoma. Welcome!
Dr. Robert Chen: Happy to be here!
Kaitlin: I'm so thankful that you can provide some insight as a specialist into this disease. What is Hodgkin Lymphoma? Let's just start with that question.
Dr. Robert Chen: So Hodgkin Lymphoma is a cancer of our lymph nodes. We all have lymph nodes in our body as a part of our normal immune system to fight against infections and lymphoma can occur when the lymph nodes become cancerous. Now Hodgkin Lymphoma is a type of lymphoma.
Kaitlin: What are the risk factors and does the disease affect a certain age group and gender?
Dr. Robert Chen: Hodgkin Lymphoma likes to affect patients in a younger age, so around 20 years old. Now we don't know the exact cause of Hodgkin Lymphoma, so I can’t tell you exactly why some patients develop Hodgkin Lymphoma. We know that it is not genetics, meaning that you cannot get it from your parents or pass it down to your kids.
Kaitlin: Okay, that's interesting. What are some of the symptoms?
Dr. Robert Chen: So patients typically can present with a painless lump in their neck or under the armpit area. So that's when the lymph nodes swell up and if you have an advanced stage of the disease, you can get fever, chills, sweats, nausea, and fatigue as well.
Kaitlin: Thank you. Please share with us some of the latest advances in treatment options for those with advanced stage Hodgkin Lymphoma.
Dr. Robert Chen: Yes, for a long time there really wasn't any advances (about 40 years.) However, there is a recent advance called Adcetris, which is a new therapy for Hodgkin Lymphoma, it is unique in the way that it delivers a treatment specifically to the cancer cells and spares the normal cells. So you can maximize the efficacy while reducing the toxicity.
Kaitlin: Oh, that's wonderful! What are the side effects?
Dr. Robert Chen: Well, typical side effects such as fever, chills, fatigue, nausea… those can occur but compared to traditional chemotherapy, these are much less, again, because the treatment is targeted at the cancer cells. There is a unique side effect of proliferative neuropathy, which patients described as a tingling sensation in the fingers and toes.
Kaitlin: Do you believe that a positive mindset is important for cancer patients while they are being treated?
Dr. Robert Chen: Oh, of course. And I think that Jeremy can tell you a little bit more about that being a patient himself.
Kaitlin: Is there anything else you'd like to add, Dr. Chen, before I speak to Jeremy?
Dr. Robert Chen: Yes, it's just a very exciting time for the treatment of lymphoma and Hodgkin’s specifically, due to the advances and the new treatment options.
Kaitlin: Thank you very much, Dr. Chen, for providing your professional insight regarding Hodgkin Lymphoma. I have some questions for Jeremy now. How has your life been impacted by living with advanced-stage Hodgkin Lymphoma?
Jeremy Hernandez: So when I was diagnosed four years ago it was stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and there was actually a tumor compressing my spinal cord. I lost the use of my legs so it took about six months and thankfully four years later now I've been cancer-free for four years thanks to this new treatment.
Kaitlin: That is just wonderful, I am so happy that the Hodgkin Lymphoma treatment worked so well for you, Jeremy! What should young adults consider when facing a cancer diagnosis?
Jeremy Hernandez: I think you’ve got to be positive like Dr. Chen said, and you just need to see all of your options. Be informed about the new treatments if there are new trials. Thanks to Dr. Chen and the city of Hope and Adcetris, I was able to get this new treatment and four years later here I am!
Me: Thank you so much! Where can our listeners/readers go for more information?
Dr. Chen: Yes, they can visit Adcetris.com for more information on Hodgkin Lymphoma and the new treatment strategy.
Kaitlin: Thank you. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Dr. Chen: Again, I’d just like to say that nowadays with all the advances we really have better treatment options for patients so it is important for patients and family members to get information out there and find the most innovative way of treating your cancer.
Kaitlin: Thank you both so much for both your professional and personal insight regarding Hodgkin Lymphoma and the latest medical advancements especially Adcetris. I hope this interview serves to provide hope to other patients and their families that are fighting Hodgkin Lymphoma. Thank you!
Dr. Robert Chen and Jeremy Hernandez: Thank you, Thank you!
In conclusion, Hodgkin Lymphoma is a blood cancer that has claimed too many lives, but new hope is emerging in the light of recent medical advancements for Hodgkin Lymphoma treatment. Patients like Jeremy Hernandez stand in a living testimony of the hope and healing that Adcetris provides. To learn more about Adcetris and Hodgkin Lymphoma treatment, please visit their website by clicking here.