Overview

Hodgkin’s lymphoma, also called Hodgkin’s disease, is a cancer that develops in the lymphatic system (lymphoma). Lymphatic system is a part of the immune system that focuses on immune responses help protecting the body from infection.
There are two main types of lymphoma called Hodgkin lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. As Hodgkin’s lymphoma occurs, lymphocytes (white blood cells) have an uncontrollable growth causing swollen lymph nodes in the parts of the body. The advanced diagnosis and treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma can lead to a complete recovery.

Symptoms

  • Painless, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarms or groin
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Severe itching
  • Painful lymph nodes after alcohol consumption

If these symptoms persist, consult your doctor.

Causes

The cause of Hodgkin’s lymphoma is still unclear. Hodgkin’s lymphoma develops when white blood cells that fight against infections known as lymphocytes change in their DNA which instruct a cell on its behavior. The alterations in the DNA instruct the cells to multiply. The cells grow and multiply rapidly while normal cells die. Lymphoma cells pull numerous healthy cells from the immune system for their protection and growth. The excess cells accumulate in the lymph nodes and cause them to be swollen.

There are many types of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Each type is classified by characteristics and behaviors of the cells that are associated with the disease. The treatment method that will be used depends on the type of lymphoma the patient has.

Classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the most common where large lymphoma cells known as Reed-Sternberg cells appear in the lymph nodes.
The following are the subtypes of classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma:

  • Nodular sclerosis Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Mixed cellularity Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Lymphocyte-depleted Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Lymphocyte-rich Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin’s lymphoma is quite an uncommon type of Hodgkin’s lymphoma that is associated with lymphoma cells called popcorn cells. This disease is often detected at an initial stage and may not require intensive treatments

Risk factors

  • Age. Hodgkin’s lymphoma tends to occur with patients in their 20s and 30s as well as those who are over 55 years old.
  • Having a history of lymphoma in the family. Having a parent, brother, or sister with the disease could raise the risk of Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • Gender. Male are more at risk of developing Hodgkin’s lymphoma than females.
  • Record of Epstein-Barr infection. Patients who had the Epstein-Barr virus, such as infectious mononucleosis have higher risk.
  • HIV infection increases the risk of having Hodgkin’s lymphoma.