Lymphoma is a cancer that begins in the immune system, which fights infections and other diseases.
What is Hodgkin lymphoma?
Lymphomas are types of blood cancer that affect your lymphatic system—part of the immune system. There are two main types: Hodgkin disease (Hodgkin lymphoma) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Hodgkin lymphoma is found in the lymph nodes (small, round masses of tissue that are instrumental in helping your body fight germs and infections), spleen, liver and bone marrow. While Hodgkin lymphoma can start almost anywhere, it's usually first discovered in the lymph node above the diaphragm.
Who develops Hodgkin lymphoma?
Certain factors increase the risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma:
a family history of lymphomas
a weakened immune system
age (people ages 15 to 35 and 55 and older are at higher risk)
viruses (Epstein-Barr virus, HIV)
What are the symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma?
If you have any of the following symptoms for more than two weeks, see your physician:
breathing problems, coughing
fatigue and weakness
increased sensitivity to alcohol
severe night sweats
swollen, painless lymph nodes (in areas such as the neck, under the arms, or groin)
unexplained weight loss
Many of these symptoms can also be associated with other illnesses. For proper diagnosis, see your physician if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms.
How is Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosed?
In addition to a physical exam, your physician may order blood tests, chest X-rays and a biopsy (a procedure to remove part or all of the lymph node) for further analysis. If a diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma is confirmed, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scans, as well as additional biopsies, may be used to determine the extent, or stage, of the disease.
How is Hodgkin lymphoma treated?
Treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma varies depending on a variety of factors, including the type of Hodgkin lymphoma, its stage, the size of the tumor and your age and individual health. Treatment may include radiation, chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation. Your physician can determine the best treatment for you.
To learn more about cancer services at The Daniel and Gloria Blumenthal Cancer Center, call 201-634-5339.