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Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph system. The lymph system is a series of tubes and nodes that run through the body. It contains a fluid that helps fight infections and moves waste out of the body.
The cancer starts in a type of lymph cell called a lymphocyte. These cells spread throughout the lymph system. Eventually, the cells will make it harder for your body to fight infections. It is considered a treatable form of cancer.
|The Lymphatic System|
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The exact cause is not known. A combination of genetic and environmental factors may play a role.
Hodgkin is more likely to occur in males and people between the ages of 15-40 years, or over 55 years. Other factors that may increase your chance of Hodgkin lymphoma include:
Hodgkin lymphoma may cause:
- Painless swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, armpit, groin, or chest
- Night sweating
- Unexplained fever
- Weight loss
- Decreased appetite
These symptoms can be caused by other less serious conditions. Tell the doctor if your child has any of these symptoms.
You will be asked about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your child's lymph nodes will be examined.
Your child's body fluilds and tissues may be tested. This can be done with:
Images may be taken of your child's body structures. This can be done with:
Treatment depends on the stage of the disease. The stage is determined by how far the cancer has spread and what organs are affected.
The healthcare team will work to make a treatment plan for your child. Treatment options may include:
Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy
Surgery is not often used for Hodgkin lymphoma. It may be effective if the cancer is isolated to just one lymph node. Surgery will remove the affected lymph node.
Treatment and the cancer itself can damage blood and lymph cells. Transplantation will help the body rebuild these cells after treatment. Transplant options may include:
- Bone marrow transplantation —Bone marrow is removed, treated, and frozen. Large doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy are applied to kill the cancer cells. After treatment, the bone marrow is replaced via a vein. Transplanted bone marrow may be your child’s bone marrow that was treated to remove cancer cells or marrow from a healthy donor.
- Peripheral blood stem cell transplantation—Stem cells are removed from circulating blood before chemotherapy or radiation treatment. After treatment is done, the stem cells are then placed back into the blood.
There are no current guidelines to prevent Hodgkin lymphoma because it is not known what causes it.
American Cancer Society
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
Canadian Cancer Society
Lymphoma Foundation Canada
Hodgkin disease. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/hodgkindisease/detailedguide/index. Accessed March 3, 2014.
Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 22, 2014. Accessed February 25, 2015.
- Reviewer: Kari Kassir, MD
- Review Date: 02/2015
- Update Date: 03/03/2014