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If Hodgkin lymphoma comes back

If you have Hodgkin lymphoma that comes back, it may still be possible to get rid of your lymphoma again. This will mostly depend on: 

  • how well further treatment works for your type of Hodgkin lymphoma
  • the treatment you have already had
  • your general health and level of fitness

For some people, treatment can cure Hodgkin lymphoma that comes back. Even if your lymphoma can't be cured, you will be able to have treatment to shrink the enlarged lymph nodes. You may then be very well for some time. 

Classical Hodgkin lymphoma

The treatment for classical Hodgkin lymphoma that has come back might include:

  • radiotherapy
  • chemotherapy
  • stem cell or bone marrow transplant
  • the biological therapy drug brentuximab

Lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin lymphoma

You might have the targeted therapy rituximab (Mabthera).

Your feelings

It can be very hard to cope with the news that your cancer has come back. You may feel very shocked and anxious even if treatment is still likely to get rid of your lymphoma again.

Talking to friends and family about your feelings can help. You may also want to think about having counselling. A trained counsellor can help you to talk about your fears and worries. And sometimes it feels easier to talk to someone outside your family and friends. Many people with cancer find that counselling can help them to deal with their emotions and to discuss any difficulties that they have. 

Last reviewed: 
09 Oct 2020
Next review due: 
09 Oct 2023
  • Essential Haematology (8th edition)
    V Hoffbrand and D Steensma
    Wiley Blackwell, 2019

  • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: ESMO clinical practice guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up
    DA Eichenauer, A Engert, M André and others
    Annals of Oncology, 2018, Volume 29 (Supplement 4)