What is Hodgkin Lymphoma?
Hodgkin lymphoma is a condition in which cancer cells form in the lymph system, an important part of the immune system that filters waste, bacteria, and other harmful substances out of the body. The lymph system includes the lymph nodes (which make up hundreds of little filter-like structures throughout the body, as well as the spleen, liver, bone marrow, and other sites.
Hodgkin lymphoma occurs in both children and adults. In young people, it occurs most often in teenagers, and is more common in males than in females.
Patients with Hodgkin lymphoma may notice a painless swelling of a lymph node, and may experience symptoms such as fatigue, fever, weight loss and night sweats. Prior infection, such as with Epstein-Barr virus or infectious mononucleosis, may increase the risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma.
Our approach to Hodgkin lymphoma
The diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma is determined by performing a lymph node biopsy, which means removing and testing a small amount of the lymph tissue. If the patient tests positive, additional tests such as a CT scan, MRI, PET scan and bone marrow biopsy will be done to see how far the cancer has spread. This is part of a process called staging, which helps the health care provider decide which treatment to use. Typical treatments include chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy, in which medicines or radiation are used to attack the cancer. The survival and cure rates for Hodgkin lymphoma are excellent.