Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer that begins in part of the immune system (the lymph system). White blood cells called lymphocytes can become abnormal or increase in number and grow without control. They may form lumps of tissue called tumors, usually in the lymph nodes of the neck, armpits or chest.
Like other cancers, Hodgkin lymphoma can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. To find out how severe your cancer is, your doctor will classify it by stage and grade.
Hodgkin is a very curable cancer compared to other cancers. But treatment success depends on your gender, the type of Hodgkin you have, its stage and your age when you are diagnosed.
What are the symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma?
Symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma include swollen lymph nodes, a fever, weight loss, and night sweats.
What causes Hodgkin lymphoma?
Experts don't know what causes Hodgkin lymphoma. Some things are known to increase the chance that you will get it. These are called risk factors. Risk factors include:
- Infection with a virus, such as Epstein-Barr or HIV.
- Having a weak immune system.
- Age. This cancer is most common in people ages 15 to 35 and people age 55 and older.
- A family history of the disease.
How is Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask you about your and your family's medical history and will do a physical exam. You may also get:
- A complete blood count, to check the number of white and red blood cells.
- A chest X-ray.
- A biopsy. The doctor may remove part or all of a lymph node to check for cancer. A biopsy is the only sure way to know if you have the cancer.
- A PET scan, a CT scan or a PET-CT scan.
- A bone marrow biopsy.
How is Hodgkin lymphoma treated?
Treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma is based on the stage of cancer and other things, such as your overall health. The main treatment is chemotherapy. Other treatment options may include radiation therapy, stem cell transplant, immunotherapy and targeted therapy.