Hodgkin’s Disease

December 22 20:56 2019 Print This Article

Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a malignancy (cancer) of lymph tissue found in the lymph nodes, spleen, liver, and bone marrow. Hodgkin’s disease affects white blood cells, which help the body fight disease. Lymphatic tissue includes the lymph nodes and related organs that are part of the body’s immune and blood-forming systems. It is the better known form of lymphoma (the other lymphomas are grouped into what is called the Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas ).

It is characterized clinically by the orderly spread of disease from one lymph node group to another and by the development of systemic symptoms with advanced disease. It’s named after the British physician Thomas Hodgkin, who first described the disease in 1832 and noted several characteristics that distinguish it from other lymphomas. Lymphoma (say: lim- foh -mah) is cancer of the lymphatic system and is the third most common type of cancer in kids and teens ages 10 to 14.

The lymphatic system is part of the body’s immune system. It helps the body fight disease and infection. The lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped organs found underneath the skin in the neck, underarm, and groin. Hodgkin’s lymphoma was one of the first cancers to be rendered curable by combination chemotherapy. In Hodgkin’s disease, cells in the lymphatic system grow abnormally and may spread beyond the lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system is the system in the body that is responsible for fighting off infections and keeping you healthy. There are two general types of lymphomas: “Hodgkin’s Disease” (named after Dr. Thomas Hodgkin, who first recognized it in 1832) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Although there are some families in which more than one person has Hodgkin’s disease, the disease does not appear to be contagious. Hodgkin’s disease, an uncommon lymphoma, accounts for less than 1 percent of all cases of cancer in this country.

Causes of Hodgkin’s Disease

The comman causes of Hodgkin’s Disease include the following:

  • The cause of Hodgkin’s disease is unknown, although it is believed to be associated with certain viruses commonly noted in the population.
  • People who have had Epstein-Barr virus, which can cause infectious mononucleosis (mono), may be at a slightly higher risk for Hodgkin’s.
  • People who are HIV-positive are at increased risk for Hodgkin’s and the incidence is increasing.
  • Infection with the Epstein Barr virus (which causes glandular fever) may slightly increase the risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma later in life.
  • The disease can spread to¬†nearby lymph nodes and later may spread to the lungs, liver, or bone marrow.

Symptoms of Hodgkin’s Disease

Some sign and symptoms related to Hodgkin’s Disease are as follows:

  • Painless swelling of lymph nodes in your neck, armpits or groin.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • A painless swelling in the lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, or groin.
  • Unexplained recurrent fevers.
  • Night sweats.
  • Fatigue.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Skin blushing or flushing.
  • Neck pain.
  • Paleness.

Treatment of Hodgkin’s Disease

Here is the list of the methods for treating Hodgkin’s Disease:

  • Chemotherapy.
  • Bone marrow transplant.
  • Supportive care (for pain, fever, infection, and nausea/vomiting).
  • Chlorambucil.
  • Fludarabine.
  • Prednisone.
  • Continued follow-up care (to determine response to treatment, detect recurrent disease, and manage side effects of treatment).
  • Early stage follicular lymphomas are usually treated with radiation therapy and have an excellent prognosis.
  • Advanced stage recurrent follicular lymphomas can sometimes be treated with a drug called Rituxin (a monoclonal antibody preparation).