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Adult Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Stages of Adult Hodgkin Lymphoma

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There are three ways that cancer spreads in the body.

The three ways that cancer spreads in the body are:

  • Through tissue. Cancer invades the surrounding normal tissue.
  • Through the lymph system. Cancer invades the lymph system and travels through the lymph vessels to other places in the body.
  • Through the blood. Cancer invades the veins and capillaries and travels through the blood to other places in the body.

When cancer cells break away from the primary (original) tumor and travel through the lymph or blood to other places in the body, another (secondary) tumor may form. This process is called metastasis. The secondary (metastatic) tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the bones, the cancer cells in the bones are actually breast cancer cells. The disease is metastatic breast cancer, not bone cancer.

Stages of adult Hodgkin lymphoma may include A, B, E, and S.

Adult Hodgkin lymphoma may be described as follows:

  • A: The patient does not have fever, weight loss, or night sweats.
  • B: The patient has B symptoms (fever, weight loss, and night sweats).
  • E: Cancer is found in an organ or tissue that is not part of the lymph system but which may be next to an involved area of the lymph system.
  • S: Cancer is found in the spleen.

The following stages are used for adult Hodgkin lymphoma:

Stage I

cdr0000641792.jpg
Stage I adult Hodgkin lymphoma. Cancer is found in one or more lymph nodes in one lymph node group. In stage IE (not shown), cancer is found outside the lymph nodes in one organ or area.

Stage I is divided into stage I and stage IE.

  • Stage I: Cancer is found in one of the following places in the lymph system:
    • One or more lymph nodes in one lymph node group.
    • Waldeyer's ring.
    • Thymus.
    • Spleen.
  • Stage IE: Cancer is found outside the lymph system in one organ or area.

Stage II

Stage II is divided into stage II and stage IIE.


  • cdr0000641793.jpg
    Stage II adult Hodgkin lymphoma. Cancer is found in two or more lymph node groups, and both are either above (a) or below (b) the diaphragm. Stage II: Cancer is found in two or more lymph node groups either above or below the diaphragm (the thin muscle below the lungs that helps breathing and separates the chest from the abdomen).

  • cdr0000641794.jpg
    Stage IIE adult Hodgkin lymphoma. Cancer is found in one or more lymph node groups above or below the diaphragm and outside the lymph nodes in a nearby organ or area (a). Stage IIE: Cancer is found in one or more lymph node groups either above or below the diaphragm and outside the lymph nodes in a nearby organ or area.
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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
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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