Hodgkin’s lymphoma is cancer that affects the lymphatic system (a part of the immune system). This kind of cancer weakens the immune system’s ability to fight infection and can eventually spread beyond the lymphatic system.
Most common symptoms of Hodgkin’s lymphoma are:
- Swelling of lymph nodes in the neck, armpits or groin
- Loss of appetite
- Prolonged fever
- Severe sweating at night
- Increased sensitivity to the effects of alcohol
Doctors may categorize the symptoms of Hodgkin’s lymphoma as A and B.
A indicates that there are no significant symptoms caused through the cancer.
B will be put after your stage of disease, if you have:
- Heavy sweating at night
- High temperature that comes and goes, often at night
- Unexplained weight loss (more than a tenth of your total weight)
There are a number of factors that add to chances of contracting Hodgkin’s lymphoma:
- Weakened immune system
- Sex – Males are more likely to develop this condition
- History of lymphoma in the family
- History of Epstein-Barr infection – a virus that causes infections such as mononucleosis
After conducting a full physical exam, your doctor may run the following tests/procedures on you based on the initial prognosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma:
- Tissue biopsy – A section of the tissue or lymph node is taken for examination. The diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma involves the presence of a type of cell called a Reed-Sternberg cell.
- Blood tests,
- Chest X-ray,
- Computed tomography (CT) scans of the chest, abdomen and pelvis, neck
- PET scans.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, bone scans, spinal tap (lumbar puncture), and bone marrow studies may also be done.
Stages of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Stage I- It is found in just one lymph node area or
Stage II- It is found in two or more lymph node areas on the same side of the diaphragm
Stage III – It is found in lymph nodes on both sides of the diaphragm, or the cancer spread to area or organ adjacent to the lymph node or to the spleen.
Stage IV- Spread to one or more organs outside the lymphatic system such as the bone marrow or liver.
The goal of lymphoma treatment is to destroy as many cancer cells as possible. Procedures used to do this are dependent on the stage of cancer, general preferences and health of the patient. Some common treatments for Hodgkin’s lymphoma are:
- Stem cell transplant
- Radiation therapy