The lymph system is part of the immune system and helps your body fight infections. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer that starts in the lymph system. Since lymphoid tissue is located in many different parts of your body, Hodgkin’s lymphoma can start anywhere.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma, named after the doctor who first noticed it, is one of two common types of cancers of the lymphoid system. The other type, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, is more common.
“The key with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as with most other types of cancer, is to catch it early,” says Prem Sobti, MD, medical oncologist, Saint Francis Medical Partner. “When we can treat it in an early stage, we have a greater chance of beating it before it spreads too far.”
There are two types of Hodgkin’s lymphoma:
- Patients with classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma have large, abnormal cells called Reed-Sternberg cells in their lymph nodes. This is the most common type of Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
- Patients with nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin’s lymphoma have large cancer cells that look like popcorn.
Symptoms of Hodgkin’s lymphoma include:
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits or groin
- Constant fatigue
- Sudden, unexplained weight loss
- Night sweats
- Decreased appetite
The disease cannot easily be treated via surgery. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the two most common treatments for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “Our treatment regimen depends on the specific type of disease, its location and how far it has spread,” says Sobti. “We often will use a combination of several different chemotherapy drugs in order to give us the best chance at a cure.”
To learn more, call 573-331-3000 or visit the Saint Francis Cancer Institute webpage.