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Hodgkin’s lymphoma

  • Alternative Names

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


    Treatment primarily depends on the following:

    • The type of Hodgkin's lymphoma (most people have classic Hodgkin's)
    • The stage (where the disease is found)
    • Whether the tumor is more than 4 inches (10 cm) wide
    • The patient's age and other medical issues
    • Other factors, including weight loss, night sweats, and fever

    A staging evaluation is necessary to determine the treatment plan.

    • Stage I indicates one lymph node region is involved (for example, the right neck).
    • Stage II indicates involvement of two lymph node areas on the same side of the diaphragm (for example, both sides of the neck).
    • Stage III indicates lymph node involvement on both sides of the diaphragm (for example, groin and armpit).
    • Stage IV involves the spread of cancer outside the lymph nodes (for example, to bone marrow, lungs, or liver).

    Treatment varies with the stage of the disease and age of the patient. The best treatment depends on each individual and should be discussed with a doctor who has experience treating this disease.

    • Stages I and II (limited disease) can be treated with local radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of both.
    • Stages III is treated with chemotherapy alone or a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
    • Stage IV (extensive disease) is most often treated with chemotherapy alone.

    People with Hodgkin’s lymphoma that returns after treatment or does not respond to treatment may receive high-dose chemotherapy followed by an autologous bone marrow transplant (using stem cells from yourself).

    Additional treatments depend on other symptoms. They may include:

    • Transfusion of blood products, such as platelets or red blood cells, to fight low platelet counts and anemia
    • Antibiotics to fight infection, especially if a fever occurs

    Support Groups

    You can often ease the stress of illness by joining a support group of people who share common experiences and problems. See cancer - support group.

    Expectations (prognosis)

    Hodgkin’s disease is considered one of the most curable forms of cancer, especially if it is diagnosed and treated early. Unlike other cancers, Hodgkin's disease is often very curable even in late stages.

    With the right treatment, more than 90% of people with stage I or II Hodgkin's lymphoma survive for at least 10 years. If the disease has spread, the treatment is more intense but the percentage of people who survive 5 years is about 90%.

    Patients who survive 15 years after treatment are more likely to later die from other causes than Hodgkin’s disease.

    People with Hodgkin’s lymphoma whose disease returns within a year after treatment or do not respond to the first-line therapy have a poorer prognosis.

    It is important for patients to receive periodic examinations and imaging tests for years after treatment to check for signs of relapse and to check for the long-term effects of treatments.


    Long term complications of chemotherapy or radiation therapy include:

    • Bone marrow diseases
    • Heart disease
    • Inability to have children (infertility)
    • Lung problems
    • Other cancers
    • Thyroid problems

    Chemotherapy can cause low blood cell counts, which can lead to an increased risk of bleeding, infection, and anemia. To minimize bleeding, apply ice and pressure to any external bleeding. Use a soft toothbrush and electric razor for personal hygiene.

    Infection should always be taken seriously during cancer treatment. Contact your doctor immediately if you develop fever or other signs of infection. Planning daily activities with scheduled rest periods may help prevent fatigue associated with anemia.

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if:

    • You have symptoms of Hodgkin's lymphoma
    • You are being treated for Hodgkin's lymphoma and you experience side effects of radiation and chemotherapy, including nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or bleeding