Discharge Instructions for Hodgkin Lymphoma

You have been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. This disease is one of a group of cancers called lymphomas. Lymphoma is a general term for cancers that start in your body’s lymphatic system. The lymphatic system helps fight disease and infection. This system goes to every part of your body. This means that Hodgkin lymphoma can start in many different places. Treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma may include chemotherapy (chemo), radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and in some cases, stem cell transplant. Here’s what you need to know about caring for yourself during and after treatment.  

General guidelines

Follow any instructions from your healthcare provider. Make sure you:

  • Take all medicines as directed.

  • Understand what you can and can’t do.

  • Balance rest with activity. Take naps during the day if you're tired. But try to move around and walk as much as you can.

  • Keep your follow-up appointments.

  • Call your healthcare provider if you have any questions or are concerned about any symptoms.

Ask your provider what signs to watch for and when to call. Know how to get help after office hours and on weekends and holidays.

Preventing and treating mouth sores

Many people get mouth sores during chemotherapy. Mouth sores also can happen if you get radiation therapy to your head and neck. Here’s what you can do to help prevent them:

  • Brush your teeth with a soft-bristle toothbrush after every meal. Talk with your provider if your gums bleed while brushing. You might want to try other products to clean your teeth and gums. These include sponge brushes.

  • Don't eat foods that are acidic, spicy, salty, coarse, or dry.

  • Don’t use dental floss if you are at higher risk of bleeding. This happens when you have a low blood platelet count.

  • Use any mouthwashes or rinses as directed.

  • If you can’t brush your teeth or use mouthwash, talk with your provider about other ways to keep your mouth clean.

  • Check your mouth and tongue for white patches. This can be a sign of fungal infection. This is a common side effect of chemo. Tell your healthcare provider. You may need medicine that can help.

Managing other side effects

  • Let your healthcare provider know if you get a sore throat. It may mean you have an infection and need antibiotics.

  • You may develop skin burns from radiation treatment. Let your provider know. There are creams to help improve healing, and protect your skin.

  • Bathe or shower regularly to keep clean. During treatment, your body can’t fight infections very well.

  • Use soap or shower gel with moisturizers. Use lotion throughout the day. Treatment can make your skin dry and itchy.

You may have an upset stomach or vomiting during treatment. You may lose your appetite. Let your provider know. There are medicines that can help. Try to:

  • Eat smaller amounts of food during the day.

  • Include some of your favorite foods in your diet.

  • Make sure you drink lots of water and other healthy drinks.

  • Try soft, plain foods. These include pudding, gelatin, ice cream, sherbet, yogurt, or milkshakes.

  • Make sure you cook all food well and store all food safely. This helps to prevent food infection.


  • Make follow-up appointments as directed by your healthcare team.

  • Tell you provider about any changes you notice in how you feel.

  • Stay up-to-date on flu shots and vaccines. Check with your provider before getting any vaccines. Some vaccines are not safe to get while in cancer treatment.

  • Keep all follow-up appointments. You'll need to be watched closely for the rest of your life.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your provider

  • Signs of an infection. These include an area with redness, pain, swelling, warmth, or drainage.

  • A cough, or coughing up yellow or green mucus

  • Wheezing or trouble breathing

  • Bleeding

  • Headache, confusion, trouble focusing, or memory loss

  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded

  • Fast or irregular heartbeat

  • Rash or itchy, raised, red areas on your skin (hives)

  • Yellowish skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice)

  • New lumps under your arms, on or near your neck, or on or near your groin

  • New pain, redness, warmth, or swelling in an arm or leg

Call 911

Call 911 if you have:

  • Heavy bleeding

  • Trouble breathing, cough, and chest pain 

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