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Hodgkin lymphoma


Alternative Names:

Lymphoma - Hodgkin; Hodgkin disease; Cancer - Hodgkin lymphoma

Symptoms:

Symptoms may include any of the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever and chills that come and go
  • Itching all over the body that cannot be explained
  • Loss of appetite
  • Soaking night sweats
  • Painless swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin (swollen glands)
  • Weight loss that cannot be explained

Other symptoms that may occur with this disease:

  • Coughing, chest pains, or breathing problems if there are swollen lymph nodes in the chest
  • Excessive sweating
  • Pain or feeling of fullness below the ribs due to swollen spleen or liver
  • Pain in lymph nodes after drinking alcohol
  • Skin blushing or flushing

Symptoms caused by Hodgkin lymphoma may occur with other conditions. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific symptoms.

Treatment:

Treatment depends on the following:

  • The type of Hodgkin lymphoma (most people have classic Hodgkin lymphoma)
  • The stage (where the disease has spread)
  • Whether the tumor is more than 4 inches (10 cm) wide
  • Your age and other medical issues
  • Other factors, including weight loss, night sweats, and fever

You may receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or both. Your doctor can tell you more about your specific treatment.

High-dose chemotherapy may be given when Hodgkin lymphoma returns after treatment or does not respond to the first treatment. This is followed by an autologous stem cell transplant (using your own stem cells).

Support Groups:

You can ease the stress of illness by joining a cancer support group. Sharing with others who have common experiences can help you not feel alone.

Outlook (Prognosis):

Hodgkin lymphoma is one of the most curable cancers. Cure is even more likely if it is diagnosed and treated early. Unlike other cancers, Hodgkin lymphoma is also very curable in its late stages.

You will need to have regular exams and imaging tests for years after your treatment. This helps your doctor check for signs of the cancer returning and for any long-term treatment effects.

Possible Complications:

Treatments for Hodgkin lymphoma can have complications. Long-term complications of chemotherapy or radiation therapy include:

  • Bone marrow diseases (such as leukemia)
  • Heart disease
  • Inability to have children (infertility)
  • Lung problems
  • Other cancers
  • Thyroid problems

Keep following up with a doctor who knows about monitoring and preventing these complications.

When to Contact a Medical Professional:

Call your health care provider if:

  • You have symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma
  • You have Hodgkin lymphoma and you have side effects from the treatment
References:

Bartlett NL, Foyli KV. Hodgkin lymphoma. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, et al., eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2013:chap 105.

National Cancer Institute: PDQ Adult Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment. Bethesda, Md: National Cancer Institute. Date last modified: Feb. 28, 2014. Available at http://cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/adulthodgkins/HealthProfessional. Accessed: March 28, 2014.

National Cancer Institute: PDQ Childhood Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment. Bethesda, Md: National Cancer Institute. Date last modified: Nov. 21, 2013. Available at http://cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/childhodgkins/HealthProfessional. Accessed: March 28, 2014.

National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Hodgkin Lymphoma. Version 2.2014. Available at http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/hodgkins.pdf. Accessed: March 28, 2014.


Review Date: 3/28/2014
Reviewed By: Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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