What is Hodgkin’s Lymphoma? | Hodgkin’s Lymphoma General Info

 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma General Info

What is Hodgkin’s lymphoma? Adult Hodgkin lymphoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the lymph system. Explore below for basics of the different Hodgkin’s subtypes, common first symptoms, stages, and more.

Also read in-depth stories from Hodgkin’s patients who share their entire cancer experience, from symptoms to survivorship.

Below is information we’ve aggregated from multiple leading sources of Hodgkin lymphoma information, primarily the National Cancer Institute.


What are the different types of Hodgkin lymphoma?

There are two main types of Hodgkin lymphoma: classical and nodular lymphocyte-predominant.

What are the main signs of Hodgkin lymphoma?

  • Swollen lymph nodes: painless in the neck, underarm, or groin
  • Fever (for no known reason)
  • Night sweats that can be drenching
  • “Unexplained” weight loss
  • Some others:
    • Itchy skin
    • Feeling very tired

What factors affect the risk of Hodgkin’s?

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Epstein-Barr infection

List the usual tests used to diagnose Hodgkin’s

Tests that examine the lymph nodes are used to detect (find) and diagnose adult Hodgkin lymphoma.

  • Physical exam & history Your doctor performs an exam checking general signs of health, along with lumps that could be swollen lymph nodes, including in your neck, underarm and groin.
  • Blood tests Usually a “Complete Blood Count” ( CBS) test where a sample of blood is drawn and then examined in a lab for the following:
    • The number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
    • The amount of hemoglobin (the protein that carries oxygen) in the red blood cells.
    • The portion of the sample made up of red blood cells.
  • LDH test Another blood test to check the amount of lactic dehydrogenase. Increased levels could signal tissue damage, lymphoma, or other diseases.
  • Hepatitis B and hepatitis C test Blood is drawn to measure the amounts of hepatitis B virus-specific antigens and/or antibodies and the amounts of hepatitis C virus-specific antibodies, which are called “markers.” Different markers or combinations of markers are used to determine whether a patient has a hepatitis B or C infection, has had a prior infection or vaccination, or is susceptible to infection.
  • Imaging tests These scans are used to look for signs of Hodgkin’s lymphoma in other areas of your body. These include an X-ray, CT (CAT scan) and positron emission tomography (PET), or PET-CT scan.
    • With contrast Dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed in order to help highlight the tissues and/or organs on the scan
    • PET-CT The scans are done on the same machine at the same time to give a more detailed picture. A small amount of “sugar” (radioactive glucose) is injected into a vein to highlight malignant tumor cells.
    • For pregnant women Tests are used to protect the fetus from radiation harms:
      • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): A procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. This procedure is also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI).
      • Ultrasound exam: A procedure in which high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) are bounced off internal tissues or organs and make echoes. The echoes form a picture of body tissues called a sonogram.
  • Lymph node biopsy Removing a lymph node for laboratory testing. The doctor will diagnose classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma if abnormal cells called Reed-Sternberg cells are found within the lymph node.
    • Excisional biopsy The removal of an entire lymph node.
    • Incisional biopsy The removal of part of a lymph node.
    • Core biopsy The removal of tissue from a lymph node using a wide needle.
  • Bone marrow biopsy Removing a sample of bone marrow for testing involves inserting a needle into your hipbone to remove a sample of bone marrow. The sample is analyzed to look for Hodgkin’s lymphoma cells.

What are the different stages of Hodgkin lymphoma?

  • Stage I. The cancer is limited to a single lymph node region or one organ.
  • Stage II.  The cancer is in two lymph node areas or the cancer has invaded one organ and the nearby lymph nodes, but the cancer is still limited to a section of the body either above or below the diaphragm.
  • Stage III. When the cancer moves to lymph nodes both above and below the diaphragm. Cancer may also be in one portion of tissue or an organ near the lymph node groups or in the spleen.
  • Stage IV. This is the most advanced stage of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Cancer cells are in several portions of one or more organs and tissues. Stage IV Hodgkin’s lymphoma affects not only the lymph nodes but also other parts of the body, such as the liver, lungs or bones.

What factors affect prognosis (change of recovery) and options for treatment?

The prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options depend on the following:

  • The patient’s signs and symptoms
  • Cancer stage
  • Type of Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Blood test results.
  • Patient’s age, gender, general health.
  • Whether the cancer is recurrent or progressive.

For Hodgkin lymphoma during pregnancy, treatment options also depend on:

  • The wishes of the patient.
  • The age of the fetus.

Adult Hodgkin lymphoma can usually be cured if found and treated early. (NCI)

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Patient Stories

Classical Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (Most Common)
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Nodular Sclerosis, Stage 1B | Madi’s Story

Madi J., Hodgkin's, Stage 1B



Cancer details: Most common and most treatable form of Hodgkin lymphoma
1st Symptoms:
Shortness of breath
Treatment:
3 rounds (6 infusions) of ABVD chemo
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Classical, Stage 2 | Danielle’s Patient Story

Danielle D., Hodgkin's, Stage 2



Cancer details: Diagnosed at age 25
1st Symptoms: Swollen lump on right side of neck/chest area, continued to grow
Treatment: ABVD chemotherapy (3 cycles = 6 infusions)
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Classical, Stage 2 | Lani’s Patient Story

Lani S., Hodgkin's, Stage 2



Cancer details: Tumor pressing on heart
1st Symptoms: Appendicitis led to CT scan that found tumor
Treatment: ABVD chemotherapy, 7 cycles
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Stage 2A | Jason’s Story

Jason F., Hodgkin's, Stage 2A



Cancer details: Diagnosed at 39
1st Symptoms: Itchy legs, bloated face and “upper trunk,” slow-healing wounds, asthma worsened
Treatment: 6 cycles (12 infusion) ABVD chemo, 18 radiation therapy sessions
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Stage 2A, Adolescent (AYA) Cancer | Logan’s Patient Story

Logan A., Hodgkin's, Stage 2A



Cancer details: Diagnosed at age 15
1st Symptoms:
Lump in neck & fatigue
Treatment:
4 cycles of ABVE-PC chemo
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Classical, Stage 2A | Helicon’s Patient Story

Helicon K., Hodgkin's, Stage 2A



Cancer details: Found lymphoma cells in adenoid tissue
1st Symptoms: Difficulty breathing with blockage in nose, surgery to remove tissue resulted in discovery of Hodgkin lymphoma cells
Treatment: ABVD chemotherapy (4 cycles), radiation (20 sessions)
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Stage 2A, Relapse, Nodular Sclerosis | Lauren’s Patient Story

Lauren C., Hodgkin's, Stage 2A



Cancer details: Diagnosed at 23 years old with nodular sclerosis, relapsed after 6 months of 1st-line treatment
1st Symptoms: Itchy body, enlarged lymph node over collar bone
Treatment: ABVD chemotherapy and ICE, radiation, and stem cell transplant for relapse
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Classical, Stage 2A, AYA Cancer | Wade’s Patient Story

Wade W., Hodgkin's, Stage 2A



Cancer details: Diagnosed at 18 years old
1st Symptoms: Enlarged lymph nodes (around neck), diagnosed at 18 years old
Treatment: ABVD chemotherapy (2 cycles), AVD chemotherapy (4 cycles)
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Stage 2B, Relapse, Transplant| Moe’s Patient Story

Moe C., Hodgkin's, 2B, Relapse



Cancer details: Diagnosed at 19, relapsed before remission
1st Symptoms: Fatigue, weight loss, night sweats
Treatment: ABVD chemo, DHAP chemo, MINE-R chemo, splenectomy, autologous bone marrow transplant
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Stage 2BX, Relapse | Fabiola’s Patient Story

Fabiola L., Hodgkin's, Stage 2BX



Cancer details: Stage 2 with bulky disease, relapsed after 1st chemo. Remission after 2nd chemo & bone marrow transplant
1st Symptoms: Shortness of breath, dry cough, fatigue
Treatment: ABVD chemo (6 cycles), IGEV chemo, bone marrow transplant, BEAM chemo, brentuximab
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Classical, Stage 2BX | Stephanie’s Story

Stephanie O., Hodgkin's, Stage 2B



Cancer details: Stage 2 with bulky disease
1st Symptoms: Shortness of breath, dry cough
Treatment: Stanford V chemotherapy (12 weeks, 1 infusion each week), radiation (20 days)
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Classical, Stage 2B | Charlie’s Patient Story

Charlie B., Hodgkin's, Stage 2B



Cancer details: Diagnosed at 32
1st Symptoms: Lump in neck
Treatment: ABVD chemotherapy
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Classical, Stage 2B | Katee’s Patient Story

Katee P., Hodgkin, Stage 2B



Cancer details: Accidentally found in x-ray after months of symptoms
1st Symptoms: Night sweats, fatigue, extreme itchiness, persistent cough
Treatment: Clinical trial; AAVD chemo, immunotherapy
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Stage 2BX | Mara’s Patient Story

Mara T., Stage 2BX (Bulky)



1st Symptoms: Shortness of breath, back pains, daily migraines
Treatment: 3 rounds of ABVD, 3 rounds AVD, Radiation
Topics: Self-advocacy, mental health
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Classical, Stage 2X| Jade’s Patient Story

Jade B., Hodgkin, Stage 2X



Cancer details: Diagnosed at 21 years old
1st Symptoms: Itchy legs and feet
Treatment: ABVD chemotherapy (4 treatments), AVD (remaining treatments)
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Classical, Stage 3, Relapse | Tylere’s Story

Tylere P., Hodgkin, Stage 3



Cancer details: Mother is a nurse practitioner; suspected cancer
1st Symptoms: Swollen lymph nodes in neck
Treatment: Clinical trial; Chemotherapy, BMT
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Stage 3A, Refractory to Gray Zone Lymphoma | Kayla’s Story

Kayla T., Hodgkin's, Stage 3A



Cancer details: Possibly misdiagnosed the first time; later diagnosed as grey zone lymphoma
1st Symptoms: Pulled muscle in chest
Treatment: ABVD chemo, radiation, high-dose chemo, stem cell transplant
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Stage 3B | Erica’s Patient Story

Erica H., Hodgkin's, Stage 3B



Cancer details: Staged at 3B
1st Symptoms: Intense itchiness, fatigue, night sweats, weight loss
Treatment:ABVD chemotherapy, 6 cycles (12 infusions)
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Stage 4 | Nicole’s Patient Story

Nicole M., Hodgkin's, Stage 4



Cancer details: Staged 2 then 4 after second opinion
1st Symptoms: Extreme fatigue, persistent itching on lower half of legs
Treatment: 6 cycles (12 infusions) chemo, ABVD then AVD (dropped bleomycin)
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Stage 4, Classical | CC’s Story

CC W., Hodgkin's, Stage 4



Cancer details: Diagnosed at 29, misdiagnosed as mono
1st Symptoms: Achiness, extreme fatigue, reactive rash on chest and neck. Later: chills, night sweats
Treatment: ABVD chemotherapy (6 cycles)
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Classical, Nodular Sclerosis, Stage 4A | Lia’s Story

Lia S., Nodular Sclerosis, Stage 4A



Cancer details: Most common and most treatable form of Hodgkin's lymphoma
1st Symptoms:
Extreme lower back pain
Treatment:
ABVD chemotherapy
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Stage 4B | Ava’s Patient Story

Ava O., Stage 4B



1st Symptoms: Trouble digesting, weak immune system, raised glands, night sweats, chest pain, extreme fatigue
Treatment: 6 cycles of ABVD chemotherapy
Topics: Emotional grieving, mental health, letting go
Nodular Lymphocyte Predominant

No post found

Metastatic Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Classical, Nodular Sclerosis, Stage 4A | Lia’s Story

Lia S., Nodular Sclerosis, Stage 4A



Cancer details: Most common and most treatable form of Hodgkin's lymphoma
1st Symptoms:
Extreme lower back pain
Treatment:
ABVD chemotherapy
...
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stories: Stage 4, Classical | CC’s Story

CC W., Hodgkin's, Stage 4



Cancer details: Diagnosed at 29, misdiagnosed as mono
1st Symptoms: Achiness, extreme fatigue, reactive rash on chest and neck. Later: chills, night sweats
Treatment: ABVD chemotherapy (6 cycles)
...