24/7 Support Number +91-9137-44-1392

Hodgkin Lymphoma

Hodgkin Lymphoma

Hodgkin Lymphoma

Hodgkin’s lymphoma, also known as Hodgkin’s disease, is a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is part of the immune system and includes lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, thymus, and other organs. Hodgkin lymphoma specifically affects the B lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell that plays a crucial role in the immune system.

In Hodgkin lymphoma, abnormal B lymphocytes grow and divide uncontrollably, forming a mass or tumor within the lymphatic system. This can lead to the enlargement of lymph nodes, spleen, liver, or other organs. Hodgkin lymphoma can also spread to other parts of the body, such as the bone marrow or lungs.

The disease is named after Dr. Thomas Hodgkin, who first described it in 1832. Hodgkin lymphoma is a relatively rare type of cancer, accounting for less than 1% of all cancer cases in the United States. It is more commonly diagnosed in young adults and older adults, but it can occur at any age.

Types of Hodgkin Lymphoma

There are two main types of Hodgkin lymphoma – Classical Hodgkin lymphoma and nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma.

  1. Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma – This is the most common type of Hodgkin lymphoma, accounting for about 95% of cases. It is further divided into four subtypes based on the appearance of the abnormal cells under a microscope –

Hodgkin Lymphoma

  • Nodular sclerosis Hodgkin lymphoma – This subtype is characterized by the presence of fibrous tissue bands within the affected lymph nodes.
  • Mixed cellularity Hodgkin lymphoma – This subtype is characterized by the presence of a mix of different types of cells within the affected lymph nodes.
  • Lymphocyte-rich Hodgkin lymphoma – This subtype is characterized by the presence of a high number of normal immune cells within the affected lymph nodes.
  • Lymphocyte-depleted Hodgkin lymphoma – This subtype is characterized by the presence of very few normal immune cells within the affected lymph nodes.

2. Nodular Lymphocyte-Predominant Hodgkin Lymphoma – This is a less common type of Hodgkin lymphoma, accounting for about 5% of cases. It is characterized by the presence of unique cells called “popcorn cells” within the affected lymph nodes.

Both types of Hodgkin lymphoma can be further classified into stages based on how far the cancer has spread. The stages range from I (early-stage disease) to IV (advanced-stage disease).

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact causes of Hodgkin lymphoma are not fully understood, but research suggests that it may develop due to a combination of genetic, environmental, and immune system factors. Here are some known risk factors for Hodgkin lymphoma –

  1. Age – Hodgkin lymphoma can occur at any age, but it is more commonly diagnosed in young adults and older adults.
  2. Gender – Men are slightly more likely to develop Hodgkin lymphoma than women.
  3. Family history – Having a close relative, such as a parent or sibling, with Hodgkin lymphoma increases the risk of developing the disease.
  4. Weakened immune system – People with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or who have received an organ transplant, are at higher risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma.
  5. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection – The Epstein-Barr virus is a common virus that can cause mononucleosis. In some cases, EBV infection can increase the risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma.
  6. Previous cancer treatment – People who have received radiation therapy or chemotherapy for a previous cancer are at increased risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma.
  7. Exposure to certain chemicals – Exposure to certain chemicals, such as pesticides and solvents, may increase the risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma.

Having one or more of these risk factors does not necessarily mean that a person will develop Hodgkin lymphoma, and many people with Hodgkin lymphoma have no known risk factors.

Symptoms

The symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma can vary from person to person, and some people may not have any symptoms at all. However, some common symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma include –

  1. Enlarged lymph nodes – The most common symptom of Hodgkin lymphoma is the presence of painless, swollen lymph nodes, usually in the neck, armpit, or groin.
  2. Fatigue – Feeling tired and weak is a common symptom of Hodgkin lymphoma, which can be caused by anemia or a decrease in the number of red blood cells.
  3. Night sweats – Excessive sweating during the night, which may cause a person to wake up with soaked sheets or pajamas, is a common symptom of Hodgkin lymphoma.
  4. Fever – Some people with Hodgkin lymphoma may experience a fever that comes and goes, usually in the evening or at night.
  5. Unexplained weight loss – Losing weight without trying or without any obvious reason can be a symptom of Hodgkin lymphoma.
  6. Itching – Some people with Hodgkin lymphoma may experience itching, which is usually worse after drinking alcohol.
  7. Chest pain, coughing, or difficulty breathing – If Hodgkin lymphoma affects the lymph nodes in the chest, a person may experience chest pain, coughing, or difficulty breathing.

Many of these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so it’s important to see a doctor if any of these symptoms persist or worsen over time.

Diagnosis and Tests

If a doctor suspects Hodgkin lymphoma based on a person’s symptoms and physical exam, they may order some tests to confirm the diagnosis and determine the stage of the disease. These tests may include –

  1. Biopsy – A biopsy is the most important test for diagnosing Hodgkin lymphoma. In a biopsy, a sample of the affected lymph node is removed and examined under a microscope to look for abnormal cells.
  2. Blood tests – Blood tests can be used to check for signs of infection, anemia, or liver or kidney problems.
  3. Imaging tests – Imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, PET scans, and MRIs can be used to determine the extent of the disease and check for the presence of swollen lymph nodes in other parts of the body.
  4. Bone marrow biopsy – In a bone marrow biopsy, a small sample of bone marrow is removed and examined under a microscope to check for the presence of abnormal cells.
  5. Lymph node biopsy – A biopsy of an enlarged lymph node may be done to confirm the diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma.

Once a diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma is confirmed, further tests may be done to determine the stage of the disease. The stage of the disease refers to how far the cancer has spread and can help guide treatment decisions. Staging may involve additional imaging tests such as CT scans, PET scans, and bone marrow biopsies.

Treatments

The treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma depends on several factors, including the stage of the disease, the type of Hodgkin lymphoma, the age and overall health of the patient, and other individual factors. Treatment options for Hodgkin lymphoma may include –

  1. Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy is a common treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma. It involves the use of drugs to kill cancer cells.
  2. Radiation therapy – Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. It is often used in combination with chemotherapy.
  3. Immunotherapy – Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells.
  4. Stem cell transplant – A stem cell transplant involves replacing the patient’s bone marrow with healthy stem cells. This is usually done after high-dose chemotherapy or radiation therapy to destroy cancer cells and bone marrow cells.
  5. Surgery – Surgery is not commonly used to treat Hodgkin lymphoma, but it may be done to remove a tumor or a swollen lymph node for diagnostic purposes.

The specific treatment plan for Hodgkin lymphoma will depend on the individual patient’s situation and will be determined by a team of healthcare professionals, including a medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, and other specialists. Treatment can be very effective, and many people with Hodgkin lymphoma are cured.

Outlook

The outlook for Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) depends on several factors, including the stage of the disease, the patient’s age and overall health, and the specific type of HL. In general, the prognosis for HL is very good, and most people with HL are cured.

Advances in treatment have also led to improved outcomes for people with HL. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy have been the mainstay of treatment for HL, and newer treatments such as immunotherapy and targeted therapy are also being used to treat the disease.

Overall, the outlook for people with HL has improved significantly over the past few decades, and with early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, most people with HL can expect to live long and healthy lives.

We're not just a cancer treatment navigator, we're a community for cancer patients and caregivers because Community is Stronger than Cancer.

© 2024 Uhapo Health Services (P) Ltd.

× How may I help you?