The prognosis for Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) survival is high with a 5-year survival rate of 86.4%. However, patients with Hodgkin lymphoma face an increased risk of therapy-related complications, including cardiovascular disease and second cancers, as well as psychological complications of cancer survivorship that may impact daily life. According to a study published in Supportive Care in Cancer, the overall distress burden of patients with Hodgkin lymphoma is low, but their survivorship is marked by periods of actionable distress.

The study authors retrospectively evaluated patients who visited a tertiary cancer center for either follow-up or active treatment. Patient-reported distress was documented using the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Distress Thermometer and Problem List. Based on this information, the patients were divided into 3 survivor groups: currently undergoing treatment, survivorship of less than 5 years, and survivorship of more than 5 years since diagnosis.

Across survivor groups, distress was low overall. However, 29.5% of patients reported actionable distress at clinical encounters. Despite a lack of association between distress and clinical prognostic factors, patients currently on treatment were more likely to report actionable distress (35% of visits) than patients surviving less than 5 years and more than 5 years post diagnosis (20.4% and 28.7%, respectively). Distress was marked by physical and emotional problems, especially fatigue, worry, and sleep.

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According to the authors, “Survivorship research typically focuses on the posttherapy period, but our results support testing the efficacy of interventions to address distress in HL during active treatment as well.”

Reference

Troy JD, Locke SC, Samsa GP, Samsa GP, Feliciano J, Richhariya A, LeBlanc TW. Patient-reported distress in Hodgkin lymphoma across the survivorship continuum. Support Care Cancer. 2018 Oct. 30.  DOI: 10.1007/s00520-018-4523-4