A diagnosis of cancer is always scary, but what is also scary in those cancers that have a good prognosis, is the risk that once the cancer is ‘cured’ it can come back. A survey from the American Cancer Society found that 70% of cancer survivors worry about the condition returning, to the extent of this becoming a ‘clinically significant symptom of anxiety’.
The American Cancer Society estimate that about 20% of people diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma will experience a relapse (mostly within two years of first treatment), relapse of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is also common. As expert oncologist, Professor Tim Illidge states in his article about the diagnosis and treatment of lymphoma, “further scans… may be performed in those who have some residual disease present at the end of treatment to monitor subsequent progress.” However, once patients enter remission, cancer of the lymph nodes can no longer be detected using the usual tests such as CT scan or PET scans.
The Lymphoma Association emphasise that “relapsed non-Hodgkin and Hodgkin lymphomas can be treated.” The initial treatment plan will be individualised but will probably involve chemotherapy, monoclonal antibody treatment or radiotherapy.
Symptoms to look out for if you are concerned about a relapse are lumps, nausea, fatigue and pain in the groin. You can contact Professor Tim Illidge using the online contact form if you are concerned about a relapse.