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Lymphomas are either Hodgkin's lymphomas or non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. Hodgkin's lymphomas have a type of cell called Reed-Sternberg cells. Lymphomas without these cells are non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. This topic is about Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). To learn about Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, see the topic Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
Hodgkin's 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.
Hodgkin's lymphoma is also called Hodgkin's.
This topic is about the most common type of Hodgkin's lymphoma, called classical Hodgkin's lymphoma. There are other types of Hodgkin's.
Like other cancers, Hodgkin's 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's is a very curable cancer compared to other cancers. But treatment success depends on your gender, the type of Hodgkin's you have, its stage, and your age when you are diagnosed.
Experts don't know what causes Hodgkin's lymphoma. Some things are known to increase the chance that you will get it. These are called risk factors. Risk factors include:
Symptoms of Hodgkin's include swollen lymph nodes, a fever, weight loss, and night sweats.
Your doctor will ask you about your and your family's medical history and will do a physical exam. You may also get:
Treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma depends on what type you have and the stage of the disease. It also depends on the size of the tumor, your age, and your symptoms. It is usually treated with medicines called chemotherapy. You may need radiation treatment.
If the cancer comes back, you may need a stem cell transplant.
Radiation and chemotherapy can have serious side effects. But the benefits of the medicine are usually more important than any side effects. Side effects may go away after you use the treatment for a while.
Your medical team will help you manage the side effects of your treatment. If you have chemotherapy or radiation, you may need medicines to control nausea and vomiting.
Fatigue is common with cancer treatment. But staying active and eating well before, during, and after your treatment may help you have more energy.
Talk with your doctor and medical team about your side effects.
You may be interested in taking part in research studies called clinical trials. Clinical trials are based on the most up-to-date information. They carefully study the use of new treatments and new combinations of current treatments.
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
Learning about Hodgkin's lymphoma:
Taking care of yourself:
The American Cancer Society (ACS) conducts educational
programs and offers many services to people with cancer and to their families.
Staff at the toll-free number have information about services and activities
in local areas and can provide referrals to local ACS divisions.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is a U.S. government
agency that provides up-to-date information about the prevention, detection,
and treatment of cancer. NCI also offers supportive care to people who have cancer
and to their families. NCI information is also available to doctors, nurses,
and other health professionals. NCI provides the latest information about
clinical trials. The Cancer Information Service, a service of NCI, has trained
staff members available to answer questions and send free publications.
Spanish-speaking staff members are also available.
Other Works Consulted
National Comprehensive Cancer Network (2012). Hodgkin lymphoma. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology, version 2.2012. Available online: http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/hodgkins.pdf.
Current as of:
February 22, 2013
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& Douglas A. Stewart, MD - Medical Oncology
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