Hodgkin Lymphoma is a cancer that affects the lymphatic system, which is part of the body’s immune system. It results from a change to the DNA of a lymphocyte, a type of white blood cell. If untreated, it results in the uncontrolled growth of cancerous lymphocytes.
Hodgkin Lymphoma is one of the most curable forms of cancer.
Treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma includes chemotherapy and/or radiation, depending on individual patient factors. Stem cell transplantation is also a treatment option, as well as Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, one of the most exciting and promising cancer treatment breakthroughs in recent years.
For most people who have Hodgkin lymphoma, the exact cause is not known, but the following risk factors may increase a person’s likelihood of developing Hodgkin lymphoma:
- The Epstein-Bar virus, known for causing mononucleosis, is associated with the development of Hodgkin lymphoma. Approximately 30 percent of Hodgkin and Reed-Sternberg (RS) cells carry the EBV virus in Western populations.
- People infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have increased probability of developing Hodgkin lymphoma.
- There are occasional cases of Hodgkin lymphoma in families. Having a parent or a sibling with Hodgkin lymphoma may increase the risk of developing the disease. These cases are uncommon, but some experts are studying whether some people have a genetic predisposition to Hodgkin lymphoma.
Signs & Symptoms
These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by adult Hodgkin lymphoma or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if any of the following do not go away:
- Painless, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, or groin
- Fever for no known reason
- Drenching night sweats
- Weight loss for no known reason
- Itchy skin
- Feeling very tired
Patients with Hodgkin lymphoma should have their treatment planned by a team of doctors with expertise in treating lymphomas. Your OHC doctor will help you determine the best care plan and team members for you.
There are three standard treatments used for Hodgkin lymphoma:
- A blood and marrow stem cell transplant is a procedure that replaces a person’s damaged stem cells with healthy ones. They are delivered into the body like a blood transfusion and eventually settle in the marrow, and begin growing and making healthy blood cells. In some cases, very high doses of chemotherapy, and sometimes radiation, are used to destroy difficult cancers and blood disorders.
- Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. Combination chemotherapy is treatment with more than one anticancer drug.
- Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. External radiation therapy is used to treat adult Hodgkin lymphoma.