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Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

What is Hodgkin’s Lymphoma?

● A type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system

What causes it? ● One of the most curable forms of cancer.

  • The exact cause of the cancer is not known.

  • However, it involves a change in the DNA of B lymphocytes that turns on oncogenes and turns off tumor suppressor genes.

  • A B lymphocyte is a type of white blood cell. The abnormal cells are called Reed-Sternberg cells.

  • The change in the DNA results in the cells multiplying rapidly (as in any cancer), producing many diseased cells.

  • The mutation results in a large number of oversized, abnormal lymphocytes that accumulate in the lymphatic system, where they crowd out the healthy cells and cause the signs and symptoms of Hodgkin’s lymphoma.


  • There are four stages of the disease.

  • Stage I is a localized disease with the cancer only being found in a single lymph node region or a single organ.

  • Stage II is when the cancer is found in two or more lymph node regions on the same side of the diaphragm.

  • Stage III is when the HL cells are found in lymph node regions above and below the diaphragm

  • Stage IV is when the disease is widespread into one or more organs outside of the lymphatic system

  • In addition to four stages, there are four categories: A, B, E, and S.

  • Category A is when the patient has no symptoms of fever, weight loss, or night sweats

  • Category B is when the patient does have symptoms of fever, weight loss, or night sweats

  • Category E is when the patient has HL cells in organs or tissues outside of the lymphatic system

  • Category S is when the patient has cancer in the spleen.

What are signs & symptoms?

  • Signs include enlarged lymph nodes, which are present in the neck, underarms, and groin.

  • Symptoms may or may not be present. If present, they usually include fever, drenching night sweats, and a large unexplained weight loss.

What are the treatment options?

  • Treatment options include chemotherapy and/or radiation, depending on the individual.

  • Stem cell transplantation is also a treatment option; however, it is usually not recommended as the initial treatment.

Interesting Facts:

  • Symptoms included in category B (fever, night sweats, weight loss) are called “B symptoms.”

  • Some of the known risk factors of the disease include genetic susceptibility (family history), HIV infection and infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (the cause of infectious mononucleosis, or mono).

  • Males are somewhat more likely to develop Hodgkin’s lymphoma than females. Sources:


BY: Richa Kuklani

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