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Radiation Therapy for Hodgkin Lymphoma

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:


Radiation Therapy for Hodgkin Lymphoma

Radiation therapy uses high energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells. When treating Hodgkin lymphoma, it works best when used after chemotherapy. Radiation therapy may be used to:

  • Shrink a large tumor (usually found in the chest)
  • Treat localized tumors
  • Ease symptoms from lymphoma that has spread

A radiation doctor will adjust the treatment dose for the person's needs. The goal is to kill as much cancer as possible while reducing harm to healthy tissue.

There are different types of radiation therapy. External beam radiation is used to treat Hodgkin lymphoma.

External Beam Radiation

This treatment uses radiation made by a machine outside the body. Short bursts of x-rays are aimed at the tumor site. This treatment only takes a few minutes. Radiation is usually given 5 days a week. The total treatment time can last 5 to 8 weeks, depending on the total dose needed. If needed, radiation therapy can be repeated in the same area. It may also be used on a different area after the first course is finished.

Radiation of a Tumor.

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External beam radiation methods include:

  • Involved site radiation therapy (ISRT)—Radiation is aimed at the original lymph node where the cancer started. It is also aimed at any nearby affected area.
  • Total body irradiation—This treatment may be given to people having a peripheral stem cell transplant. The goal is to try to kill all traces of lymphoma in the body.


  • Adult Hodgkin lymphoma treatment (PDQ)—patient version. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/lymphoma/patient/adult-hodgkin-treatment-pdq.
  • Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hodgkin-lymphoma-hl.
  • Radiation therapy. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America website. Available at: https://www.lls.org/treatment/types-treatment/radiation-therapy.
  • Radiation therapy for Hodgkin lymphoma. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/hodgkin-lymphoma/treating/radiation.html.


  • Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.