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Hodgkin's disease in the elderly: A single institution retrospective study of 40 patients aged 65 or over

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Out of 485 patients with Hodgkin's disease (HD) treated in our institution between 1970-1998, 40 (8.2%) patients aged 65 or over at the date of the first presentation were examined retrospectively. The localization of the disease was more frequently infradiaphragmatic and rarely mediastinal in the elderly. The time that elapsed from the first clinical sign to the diagnosis of HD was twice as long as that in the young patient population. Since the first treatment was often inadequate and due to severe associated diseases, therapeutic and overall survival results in this patient population were less favourable than in the case of young patients. However, the relapse-free survival rate of the elderly patients treated successfully did not differ from that of the young patient population.

Complete healing should be the final aim of treatment in the aged population, while the status of the patient, associated diseases and life expectancy not related with HD should also be taken into consideration. Besides the search for effective and less toxic treatment strategies and supportive therapy, more frequent and overall patient follow-up and care is of great importance.


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