Hodgkin’s Disease Symptoms and Treatment

By Jayita, Gaea News Network
Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hodgkin is a type of Lymphoma. Lymphoma is cancer that grows uncontrollably in lymphatic system. It is the third most common cancer in kids and teens aged between 10 to 14.

The lymphatic system in our body helps fight off infections and keeps us healthy. It’s made up of chains of lymph nodes, tonsils, spleen and bone marrow. Clusters of lymph nodes are found in the underarms, groin, neck, chest, and abdomen.

There are several different types of lymphomas, and they are divided into two broad categories: Hodgkin’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is much more common than Hodgkin’s disease. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the sixth most common cancer in U.S. The incidence of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma has been increasing at an alarming rate over the last decades.

Hodgkin’s disease is very rare and accounts for only about 1% of all cancers in the U.S. When a biopsy from the cancer contains a certain type of cell termed as Reed-Sternberg cell, the lymphoma is classified as Hodgkin’s disease.

Hodgkin’s disease is named after Dr. Thomas Hodgkin, who described several cases of the cancer within the lymph system in 1832.

Hodgkin’s disease occurs most commonly in two distinct age groups: younger people between 15 and 40 years of age (most commonly in the age range of 20-30) and people who are 55 or older at the time of diagnosis.

Cause of Hodgkin’s disease

It’s still undiscovered what exactly causes Hodgkin’s disease. But it has been observed that people having brother or sister suffering from Hodgkin’s disease are more likely to get the disease. People who had undergone an organ transplantation or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) are also vulnerable to the disease.


Hodgkin’s lymphomas are more likely to begin in lymph nodes in the upper body such as in the neck, underarms, or chest, but both types of lymphoma can be found anywhere in the body. The general symptoms includes :

  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, spleen, or other immune tissue.
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Night sweats.
  • Coughing or breathing problem

The symptoms may vary from person to person. So stay alert and do visit doctor if you experience any one of the above mentioned symptoms or any other irks condition.


Hodgkin’s disease can be diagnosed with biopsy. This involves removing a tiny bit of tissue or fluid from the body and examining the tissue under a microscope.

Among several types of biopsies doctors usually ask for following two types.

1. Fine needle aspiration

The doctor uses a very thin needle to suction out a small amount of tissue from the lymph node.

2. Excisional or incisional biopsy.

The doctor opens the skin to remove the entire enlarged lymph node (excisional) or only part of it (incisional).

The oncologist (a doctor specialized in the treatment of cancer) will refer to the following tests to ensure whether the cancer has spread. This process is called staging.

Some tests involves :

  • Blood tests
  • A chest X-ray
  • A computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan, a type of X-ray that rotates around the patient and creates a picture of the inside of the body from different angles
  • A magnetic resonance imaging (or MRI) scan, which uses magnets and radio waves to allow doctors to see inside the body (the person lies inside the machine while it takes images)
  • A bone marrow biopsy to check for cancer in the bone marrow
  • A gallium scan, which uses the injection of a chemical called gallium to detect tumors and inflammation
  • A positron emission tomography (PET) scan.

Treatment of Hodgkin’s disease may require radiation therapy or chemotherapy depending on the severity of the disease i.e, how far it has spread. If Hodgkin’s disease is detected at early stage, it can be cured with proper treatment. Newer treatments are also developing for certain forms of lymphomas, including treatments using biologic medications, such as antibodies that target certain lymphocytes called B cells.

Before wrapping up, I request my readers to be more conscious about Hodgkin’s disease. Don’t pay heed to any kind of rumors associated with Hodgkin’s disease. It is curable if diagnosed at primary stage. Please do take a very good care of your health because we still believe that health is wealth.

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