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Hodgkin lymphoma

Lymphoma - Hodgkin; Hodgkin disease; Cancer - Hodgkin lymphoma

 

Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of lymph tissue. Lymph tissue is found in the lymph nodes, spleen, liver, bone marrow, and other sites.

Causes

 

The cause of Hodgkin lymphoma is not known. Hodgkin lymphoma is most common among people 15 to 35 years old and 50 to 70 years old. Past infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is thought to contribute to some cases. People with HIV infection are at increased risk compared to the general population.

 

Symptoms

 

The first sign of Hodgkin lymphoma is often a swollen lymph node that appears without a known cause. The disease can spread to nearby lymph nodes. Later it may spread to the spleen, liver, bone marrow, or other organs.

Symptoms may include any of the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever and chills that come and go
  • Itching all over the body that cannot be explained
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drenching night sweats
  • Painless swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin (swollen glands)
  • Weight loss that cannot be explained

Other symptoms that may occur with this disease:

  • Coughing, chest pains, or breathing problems if there are swollen lymph nodes in the chest
  • Excessive sweating
  • Pain or feeling of fullness below the ribs due to swollen spleen or liver
  • Pain in lymph nodes after drinking alcohol
  • Skin blushing or flushing

Symptoms caused by Hodgkin lymphoma may occur with other conditions. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific symptoms.

 

Exams and Tests

 

The doctor will perform a physical exam and check body areas with lymph nodes to feel if they are swollen.

The disease is often diagnosed after a biopsy of suspected tissue, usually a lymph node.

The following procedures will usually be done:

  • Blood chemistry tests including protein levels, liver function tests, kidney function tests, and uric acid level
  • Bone marrow biopsy
  • CT scans of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis
  • Complete blood count (CBC) to check for anemia and white blood count
  • PET (positron emission tomography) scan

If tests show that you have Hodgkin lymphoma, more tests will be done to see how far the cancer has spread. This is called staging. Staging helps guide treatment and follow-up.

 

Treatment

 

Treatment depends on the following:

  • The type of Hodgkin lymphoma (there are different forms of Hodgkin lymphoma)
  • The stage (where the disease has spread)
  • Whether the tumor is more than 4 inches (10 cm) wide
  • Your age and other medical issues
  • Other factors, including weight loss, night sweats, and fever

You may receive chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or both. Your doctor can tell you more about your specific treatment.

High-dose chemotherapy may be given when Hodgkin lymphoma returns after treatment or does not respond to the first treatment. This is followed by a stem cell transplant that uses your own stem cells.

You and your health care provider may need to manage other concerns during your leukemia treatment, including:

  • Having chemotherapy at home
  • Managing your pets during chemotherapy
  • Bleeding problems
  • Dry mouth
  • Eating enough calories
  • Safe eating during cancer treatment

 

Support Groups

 

You can ease the stress of illness by joining a cancer support group. Sharing with others who have common experiences can help you not feel alone.

 

Outlook (Prognosis)

 

Hodgkin lymphoma is one of the most curable cancers. Cure is even more likely if it is diagnosed and treated early. Unlike other cancers, Hodgkin lymphoma is also very curable in its late stages.

You will need to have regular exams and imaging tests for years after your treatment. This helps your doctor check for signs of the cancer returning and for any long-term treatment effects.

 

Possible Complications

 

Treatments for Hodgkin lymphoma can have complications. Long-term complications of chemotherapy or radiation therapy include:

  • Bone marrow diseases (such as leukemia)
  • Heart disease
  • Inability to have children (infertility)
  • Lung problems
  • Other cancers
  • Thyroid problems

Keep following up with a doctor who knows about monitoring and preventing these complications.

 

When to Contact a Medical Professional

 

Call your provider if:

  • You have symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma
  • You have Hodgkin lymphoma and you have side effects from the treatment

 

 

References

Bartlett NL, Foyli KV. Hodgkin lymphoma. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2014:chap 105.

National Cancer Institute: PDQ adult Hodgkin lymphoma treatment. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Updated February 12, 2016. cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/adulthodgkins/HealthProfessional. Accessed March 17, 2016.

National Cancer Institute: PDQ childhood Hodgkin lymphoma treatment. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Updated February 3, 2016. cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/childhodgkins/HealthProfessional. Accessed March 17, 2016.

National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN clinical practice guidelines in oncology: Hodgkin lymphoma. Version 2.2015. www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/hodgkins.pdf. Accessed March 17, 2016.

 
  • Hodgkin lymphoma

    Hodgkin lymphoma

    Animation

  •  

    Hodgkin lymphoma - Animation

    Did you ever touch your neck and feel a bump on one or both sides? Usually, it's just a swollen gland or lymph node that's caused by a cold or other infection. But occasionally, swollen lymph nodes can be a sign of cancer, perhaps a cancer called Hodgkin's lymphoma. These are your lymph nodes. You'll find them not only on your neck, but in your armpits and groin too. They're a part of your body's normal defense system, which protects you against invading viruses and bacteria. Hodgkin's lymphoma is a type of cancer that starts inside the lymph nodes. What causes Hodgkin's lymphoma isn't known, but having the Epstein-Barr virus or HIV may increase your risk. So, what are the signs of Hodgkin's lymphoma? In addition to having swollen lymph nodes, you may feel tired and have no appetite. Some people wake up in the middle of the night soaked in sweat. That's called night sweats. Remember, though, that these symptoms can occur with many different conditions. So if you have them, don't panic. But do see your doctor, who can tell you for sure what's causing your symptoms. If your doctor suspects that you have Hodgkin's lymphoma, your doctor will probably cut and remove a small piece of tissue from your lymph node, called a biopsy, and the samples will be sent to a lab to look for cancer cells. If cancer is diagnosed, other tests are used to stage it, in other words, to see whether the disease has spread, and if so, how far it's spread. That helps your doctor find the right treatment. If you have Hodgkin's lymphoma, most often the treatment involves radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of both. People who don't respond to these treatments sometimes need a bone marrow transplant. While you're being treated for Hodgkin's lymphoma, you may need other therapies to help you feel better. That might include antibiotics to fight an infection or a blood transfusion to add red blood cells when they're low. Getting diagnosed with any type of cancer can be difficult to hear. But you should know that Hodgkin's lymphoma is one of the most curable types of cancer. Even if the disease has spread, your chances of survival are very high. You can improve your odds by following the entire treatment plan. Once your lymphoma has been treated, you'll need to see your doctor regularly for check-ups to make sure the cancer hasn't returned, and to monitor for any side effects your treatment may have caused.

  • Lymphatic system

    Lymphatic system - illustration

    The lymphatic system filters fluid from around cells. It is an important part of the immune system. When people refer to swollen glands in the neck, they are usually referring to swollen lymph nodes. Common areas where lymph nodes can be easily felt, especially if they are enlarged, are: the groin, armpits (axilla), above the clavicle (supraclavicular), in the neck (cervical), and the back of the head just above hairline (occipital).

    Lymphatic system

    illustration

  • Hodgkin's disease, liver involvement

    Hodgkin's disease, liver involvement - illustration

    Hodgkin's disease (lymphoma) is a malignant cancer that can affect many organs. A whitish, irregular tumor mass of lymphoma cells is seen on the left side of this cross-section of the liver.

    Hodgkin's disease, liver involvement

    illustration

  • Lymphoma, malignant - CT scan

    Lymphoma, malignant - CT scan - illustration

    This abdominal CT scan shows tumor masses (malignant lymphomas) in the area behind the peritoneal cavity (retroperitoneal space).

    Lymphoma, malignant - CT scan

    illustration

  • Immune system structures

    Immune system structures - illustration

    The immune system protects the body from potentially harmful substances. The inflammatory response (inflammation) is part of innate immunity. It occurs when tissues are injured by bacteria, trauma, toxins, heat or any other cause.

    Immune system structures

    illustration

  • Hodgkin lymphoma

    Animation

  •  

    Hodgkin lymphoma - Animation

    Did you ever touch your neck and feel a bump on one or both sides? Usually, it's just a swollen gland or lymph node that's caused by a cold or other infection. But occasionally, swollen lymph nodes can be a sign of cancer, perhaps a cancer called Hodgkin's lymphoma. These are your lymph nodes. You'll find them not only on your neck, but in your armpits and groin too. They're a part of your body's normal defense system, which protects you against invading viruses and bacteria. Hodgkin's lymphoma is a type of cancer that starts inside the lymph nodes. What causes Hodgkin's lymphoma isn't known, but having the Epstein-Barr virus or HIV may increase your risk. So, what are the signs of Hodgkin's lymphoma? In addition to having swollen lymph nodes, you may feel tired and have no appetite. Some people wake up in the middle of the night soaked in sweat. That's called night sweats. Remember, though, that these symptoms can occur with many different conditions. So if you have them, don't panic. But do see your doctor, who can tell you for sure what's causing your symptoms. If your doctor suspects that you have Hodgkin's lymphoma, your doctor will probably cut and remove a small piece of tissue from your lymph node, called a biopsy, and the samples will be sent to a lab to look for cancer cells. If cancer is diagnosed, other tests are used to stage it, in other words, to see whether the disease has spread, and if so, how far it's spread. That helps your doctor find the right treatment. If you have Hodgkin's lymphoma, most often the treatment involves radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of both. People who don't respond to these treatments sometimes need a bone marrow transplant. While you're being treated for Hodgkin's lymphoma, you may need other therapies to help you feel better. That might include antibiotics to fight an infection or a blood transfusion to add red blood cells when they're low. Getting diagnosed with any type of cancer can be difficult to hear. But you should know that Hodgkin's lymphoma is one of the most curable types of cancer. Even if the disease has spread, your chances of survival are very high. You can improve your odds by following the entire treatment plan. Once your lymphoma has been treated, you'll need to see your doctor regularly for check-ups to make sure the cancer hasn't returned, and to monitor for any side effects your treatment may have caused.

  • Lymphatic system

    Lymphatic system - illustration

    The lymphatic system filters fluid from around cells. It is an important part of the immune system. When people refer to swollen glands in the neck, they are usually referring to swollen lymph nodes. Common areas where lymph nodes can be easily felt, especially if they are enlarged, are: the groin, armpits (axilla), above the clavicle (supraclavicular), in the neck (cervical), and the back of the head just above hairline (occipital).

    Lymphatic system

    illustration

  • Hodgkin's disease, liver involvement

    Hodgkin's disease, liver involvement - illustration

    Hodgkin's disease (lymphoma) is a malignant cancer that can affect many organs. A whitish, irregular tumor mass of lymphoma cells is seen on the left side of this cross-section of the liver.

    Hodgkin's disease, liver involvement

    illustration

  • Lymphoma, malignant - CT scan

    Lymphoma, malignant - CT scan - illustration

    This abdominal CT scan shows tumor masses (malignant lymphomas) in the area behind the peritoneal cavity (retroperitoneal space).

    Lymphoma, malignant - CT scan

    illustration

  • Immune system structures

    Immune system structures - illustration

    The immune system protects the body from potentially harmful substances. The inflammatory response (inflammation) is part of innate immunity. It occurs when tissues are injured by bacteria, trauma, toxins, heat or any other cause.

    Immune system structures

    illustration

A Closer Look

 

    Tests for Hodgkin lymphoma

     

       

      Review Date: 2/1/2016

      Reviewed By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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