Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system that is marked by the presence of a type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell. Symptoms include the painless enlargement of lymph nodes, spleen, or other immune tissue. Other symptoms include fever, weight loss, fatigue, or night sweats. It is also called Hodgkin disease.
Estimated new cases and deaths from Hodgkin lymphoma in the United States each year:
- New cases: 8,190
- Deaths: 1,070
Symptoms of Hodgkin's disease may include the following:
- A painless swelling in the lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, or groin
- Unexplained recurrent fevers
- Night sweats
- Unexplained weight loss
- Itchy skin
Patients with Hodgkin's disease may be vaccinated against the flu, pneumonia, and meningitis. They should discuss a vaccination plan with their health care provider.
Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are the most common treatments for Hodgkin's disease, although bone marrow transplantation, peripheral stem cell transplantation, and biological therapies are being studied in clinical trials.
Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) is the use of high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. Depending on the stage of the disease, treatment with radiation may be given alone or with chemotherapy. Radiation therapy is local therapy; it affects cancer cells only in the treated area. Radiation treatment for Hodgkin's disease usually involves external radiation, which comes from a machine that aims the rays at a specific area of the body. External radiation does not cause the body to become radioactive. Most often, treatment is given on an outpatient basis in a hospital or clinic.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy for Hodgkin's disease usually consists of a combination of several drugs. It may be given alone or followed by radiation therapy.