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Hodgkin’s lymphoma

  • Alternative Names

    Lymphoma - Hodgkin's; Hodgkin's disease; Cancer - Hodgkin's lymphoma

    • Fatigue
    • Fever and chills that come and go
    • Itching all over the body that cannot be explained
    • Loss of appetite
    • Soaking night sweats
    • Painless swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin (swollen glands)
    • Weight loss that cannot be explained

    Other symptoms that may occur with this disease:

    • Coughing, chest pains, or breathing problems if there are swollen lymph nodes in the chest
    • Excessive sweating
    • Pain or feeling of fullness below the ribs due to swollen spleen or liver
    • Pain in lymph nodes after drinking alcohol
    • Skin blushing or flushing

    Note: Symptoms caused by Hodgkin's lymphoma may also occur also with other conditions. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific symptoms.

    Signs and tests

    The disease may be diagnosed after:

    • Biopsy of suspected tissue, usually a lymph node biopsy
    • Bone marrow biopsy

    If tests reveal you do have Hodkin's lymphoma, additional tests will be done to see if the cancer has spread. This is called staging. Staging helps guide future treatment and follow-up and gives you some idea of what to expect in the future.

    The following procedures will usually be done:

    • Blood chemistry tests including protein levels, liver function tests, kidney function tests, and uric acid level
    • CT scans of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis
    • Complete blood count (CBC) to check for anemia and white blood count
    • PET scan

    In some cases, abdominal surgery to take a piece of the liver and remove the spleen may be needed. However, because the other tests are now so good at detecting the spread of Hodgkin's lymphoma, this surgery is usually unnecessary.