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.
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