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Hodgkin's Lymphoma - Topic Overview

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Lymphomas are either Hodgkin's lymphomas or non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. Hodgkin's lymphomas have a type of cell called Reed-Sternberg cells. Lymphomas without these cells are non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. This topic is about Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). To learn about Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, see the topic Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

What is Hodgkin's lymphoma?

Hodgkin's lymphoma is a cancer that begins in part of the immune system (the lymph system camera.gif). White blood cells called lymphocytes can become abnormal or increase in number and grow without control. They may form lumps of tissue called tumors, usually in the lymph nodes of the neck, armpits, or chest.

Hodgkin's lymphoma is also called Hodgkin's.

This topic is about the most common type of Hodgkin's lymphoma, called classical Hodgkin's lymphoma. There are other types of Hodgkin's.

Like other cancers, Hodgkin's can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. To find out how severe your cancer is, your doctor will classify it by stage and grade.

Hodgkin's is a very curable cancer compared to other cancers. But treatment success depends on your gender, the type of Hodgkin's you have, its stage, and your age when you are diagnosed.

What causes Hodgkin's?

Experts don't know what causes Hodgkin's lymphoma. Some things are known to increase the chance that you will get it. These are called risk factors. Risk factors include:

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of Hodgkin's include swollen lymph nodes, a fever, weight loss, and night sweats.

How is Hodgkin's diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask you about your and your family's medical history and will do a physical exam. You may also get:

How is it treated?

Treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma depends on what type you have and the stage of the disease. It also depends on the size of the tumor, your age, and your symptoms. It is usually treated with medicines called chemotherapy. You may need radiation treatment.

If the cancer comes back, you may need a stem cell transplant.

Side effects

Radiation and chemotherapy can have serious side effects. But the benefits of the medicine are usually more important than any side effects. Side effects may go away after you use the treatment for a while.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 22, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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