About

Hodgkin Lymphoma


About Hodgkin Lymphoma

Hodgkin lymphoma is relatively uncommon, with about 9,000 new cases diagnosed yearly in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, recent advances in treatment have led to a significantly improved survival rate. While both adults and children can develop Hodgkin lymphoma, it is most prevalent in people in their 20s and then again in late adulthood, over age 55. Hodgkin lymphoma can begin in almost any part of the body, because lymph tissue is found throughout your entire body. If it spreads, it generally progresses in a predictable course – moving from one group of lymph nodes to the next. Generally, Hodgkin lymphoma is diagnosed before it reaches a late stage and is considered to be highly treatable.


Hodgkin lymphoma occurs in the lymphatic system, which is part of your immune system and helps to fight infection and illness naturally. This cancer is a malignancy of the lymphocytes, which are the cells that produce antibodies to protect your body from viruses and bacteria. Hodgkin lymphoma involves the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells, which are mature B cells that have become cancerous; these B cells are abnormally large and have more than one nucleus.

Hodgkin lymphoma typically begins in the neck or chest, although other lymph nodes can be affected. If this cancer spreads, it typically spreads first to nearby lymph nodes, before moving to the spleen, liver, or bone marrow.

In many cases of Hodgkin lymphoma, patients have few risk factors or none at all. However, a few risk factors have been identified:

  • Age: being in early or late adulthood; Hodgkin lymphoma is most common in people ages 15-24 and over 55
  • Gender: although the difference is slight, HL occurs more frequently in males than in females.
  • Epstein-Barr virus (EBV): EBV causes mononucleosis (mono), and people who have had mono are at a slightly increased risk for Hodgkin lymphoma – about 1 in 1,000
  • Family history: first-degree relatives of people with Hodgkin lymphoma have a higher risk for developing the disease
  • Compromised immune system: if you have a weakened immune system (for example, due to HIV infection or taking medicines to suppress the immune system after an organ transplant), you are at greater risk for Hodgkin lymphoma. People with autoimmune diseases are also at a slightly elevated risk.

The most common signs of Hodgkin lymphoma are:

  • Swollen lymph nodes (painless) in the neck, underarm, or groin
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss
  • Itchy skin
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath

How many types of Hodgkin lymphoma are there?
There are two types of Hodgkin lymphoma, which grow and spread differently and are usually not treated in the same way:

  1. Classic Hodgkin lymphoma is the more common type, accounting for at least 9 in 10 cases. In this disease, the cancer cells are Reed-Sternberg cells. Enlarged lymph nodes generally have a small number of Reed-Sternberg cells and a lot of normal immune cells causing the inflammation.
  2. Lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma (LPHL) is a rare type of the disease, affecting only about 5% of patients. LPHL tends to grow more slowly and typically requires less intensive treatment.

What is is Hodgkin lymphoma?

Hodgkin lymphoma occurs in the lymphatic system, which is part of your immune system and helps to fight infection and illness naturally. This cancer is a malignancy of the lymphocytes, which are the cells that produce antibodies to protect your body from viruses and bacteria. Hodgkin lymphoma involves the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells, which are mature B cells that have become cancerous; these B cells are abnormally large and have more than one nucleus.

Hodgkin lymphoma typically begins in the neck or chest, although other lymph nodes can be affected. If this cancer spreads, it typically spreads first to nearby lymph nodes, before moving to the spleen, liver, or bone marrow.

 

What are the risk factors for Hodgkin lymphoma?

In many cases of Hodgkin lymphoma, patients have few risk factors or none at all. However, a few risk factors have been identified:

  • Age: being in early or late adulthood; Hodgkin lymphoma is most common in people ages 15-24 and over 55
  • Gender: although the difference is slight, HL occurs more frequently in males than in females.
  • Epstein-Barr virus (EBV): EBV causes mononucleosis (mono), and people who have had mono are at a slightly increased risk for Hodgkin lymphoma – about 1 in 1,000
  • Family history: first-degree relatives of people with Hodgkin lymphoma have a higher risk for developing the disease
  • Compromised immune system: if you have a weakened immune system (for example, due to HIV infection or taking medicines to suppress the immune system after an organ transplant), you are at greater risk for Hodgkin lymphoma. People with autoimmune diseases are also at a slightly elevated risk.

 

What are the symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma?

The most common signs of Hodgkin lymphoma are:

  • Swollen lymph nodes (painless) in the neck, underarm, or groin
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss
  • Itchy skin
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath

How many types of Hodgkin lymphoma are there?
There are two types of Hodgkin lymphoma, which grow and spread differently and are usually not treated in the same way:

  1. Classic Hodgkin lymphoma is the more common type, accounting for at least 9 in 10 cases. In this disease, the cancer cells are Reed-Sternberg cells. Enlarged lymph nodes generally have a small number of Reed-Sternberg cells and a lot of normal immune cells causing the inflammation.
  2. Lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma (LPHL) is a rare type of the disease, affecting only about 5% of patients. LPHL tends to grow more slowly and typically requires less intensive treatment.

 

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