There are two categories of lymphoma: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Both are blood cancers of the immune system, specifically the lymphocyte cells, including those found in the lymph nodes, spleen, and bone marrow. Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma vary in behavior, treatment reaction, and how each spreads.
Hodgkin lymphoma, or Hodgkin disease, was named after Dr. Thomas Hodgkin, who was the first to discover and describe it. Hodgkin disease frequently moves through the lymph system from lymph node to lymph node. Because the lymph system is spread throughout the body, Hodgkin lymphoma can originate almost anywhere, most often in the chest, neck, or underarms. Hodgkin lymphoma can occur in both adults and children.
- In 2016, about 8,500 Americans will be diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma and about 1,120 will die from the disease.
- In Texas, Hodgkin lymphoma is expected to cause about 660 cases in Texas, with 94 deaths.
- Hodgkin lymphoma occurs most often in early adulthood (ages 15 to 40, and especially the 20’s) and late adulthood (age 55 and older).
Hodgkin Lymphoma Risk Factors
- HIV infection
- Ages 15 to 40 or 55 and older
- High socioeconomic status
- Mononucleosis/Epstein-Barr virus infection
- Male gender
- Siblings with Hodgkin lymphoma
The following may be symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma but could be linked to other health conditions. If the following symptoms are present, individuals are encouraged to consult their physician. A symptom peculiar to Hodgkin lymphoma is alcohol sensitivity, or pain in the lymph nodes after consuming alcohol. Potential symptoms include:
- Swollen lymph nodes especially in the neck, underarm, or groin
- Night sweats or unexplained fever
- Unexplained weight loss
- Coughing and difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained pain anywhere in the body following alcohol consumption
There is no known prevention for Hodgkin lymphoma.
Hodgkin lymphoma is highly treatable, especially in young patients. Depending on the stage and type, treatment options can vary and may involve one or more members of the cancer care team – hematologists, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists. Treatment options may be tailored based on the type of Hodgkin lymphoma, stage, tumor size, symptoms, age, and the patient’s overall health. Treatment can include steroid therapy, chemotherapy, stem cell transplantation, monoclonal antibodies, radiation, proton therapy, surgery, targeted therapy, or a combination of treatments.
Sources: American Cancer Society, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, National Cancer Institute, and Texas Cancer Registry.