Hodgkin’s Disease

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    • Hodgkin's disease is a type of lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system)
    • Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma (Reed Sternberg cell)
    • Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma (abnormal cell- “popcorn cell” which is treated differently)
    • Most Hodgkin's lymphoma occurs when an infection-fighting cell called a B cell develops a mutation in its DNA
    • Most common symptom is a painless swelling in the lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, or groin
    • Diagnosed when abnormal tissue is detected by a pathologist after a biopsy of an enlarged lymph node
    • Common treatment options are radiation therapy or chemotherapy
    • Patients have an increased risk of developing a different type of cancer later in life, especially leukemia

  • Estimated that 8,830 men and women will be diagnosed and 1,300 will die from Hodgkin Lymphoma per year
  • (2004-2008) median age at diagnosis is 38
    • 12.3% under age 20
    • 31.5% between age 20 and 34
    • 15.8% between 35 and 44
    • 12.5% between 45 and 54
    • Overall 5-year relative survival (2001-2007) rate was 83.9%
      • Very curable disease
      • Based on rates from 2006-2008, 0.23% of men and women born today will be diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma in their lifetime

Risk Factors
Doctors are not sure what exactly to attribute the disease to but recommend a healthy lifestyle. Certain risk factors would make one more prone to Hodgkin disease- people should take cautions against these factors:
  • Certain viruses- not a contagious disease, but having HIV or Epstein-Barr virus may increase the risk of getting Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Weakened immune system- from inherited condition or drugs being used post organ transplant
  • Age- most common among teens and adults aged 15 to 35 years and adults aged 55 years and older
  • Family history

  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarms, and groin (not painful) external image survival-rate-hodgkins-lymphoma.jpg
  • Increased sensitivity towards alcohol consumption
  • Pain in lymph nodes after drinking
  • Unattributed weight loss
  • Lasting fever
  • Soaking night sweats
  • Itchy/irritated skin
  • Chest pain, coughing and trouble breathing
  • Lasting weakness and tiredness

*Symptoms may not be due to cancer, but if they persist longer than two weeks, see a doctor for a diagnosis

  • Physical Exam- doctors check for swollen lymph nodes and swollen spleen or liver
  • Blood tests- check white blood cell count and for other signs of cancer
  • Imaging tests- X-Ray, CT Scan, MRI and positron emission tomography (PET)
  • Surgery to remove swollen lymph nodes- examined in a lab to see if Reed Sternberg cells are present
  • Bone marrow biopsy- a small amount of bone marrow, blood and bone are removed through a needle for laboratory screening purposes

  • Chemotherapy- uses chemicals to kill lymphoma cells
    • Combined with radiation therapy in people with early-stage classical type Hodgkin's lymphoma
    • In advanced Hodgkin's lymphoma, chemotherapy may be used alone or combined with radiation therapy
    • Radiation- uses high energy beams to kill cancer cells
      • Classical Hodgkin's lymphoma, radiation therapy can be used alone, but it is often used after chemotherapy
      • People with early-stage lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin's lymphoma typically undergo radiation therapy alone
      • Stem Cell Transplant- treatment to replace your diseased bone marrow with healthy stem cells that help you grow new bone marrow
        • May be an option if Hodgkin's lymphoma returns despite treatment