According to the American Cancer Society’s 2018 estimated statistics, about 8,500 people will be diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma, and about 1,050 deaths will result from it. Most new cases are diagnosed in early adulthood or after age 55. Survival rates have improved in the last few decades due to advances in treatment.
Causes of Hodgkin Lymphoma
Although it is unclear what causes Hodgkin Lymphoma, it has been linked with certain risk factors (although the reasons are unclear):
- Epstein-Barr virus infection/mononucleosis
- Age: It has two peaks, higher in 20’s and after 55
- Gender (higher in males)
- Geography (higher in U.S., Canada, and Europe)
- Family history
- Socioeconomic status (higher in higher socioeconomic backgrounds)
- HIV infection
Symptoms of Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Fever without an infection
- Night sweats
- Itchy skin
- Loss of appetite Weight loss
Diagnosis of Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Lymph node Biopsy
- Imaging tests like X-ray and CT scan
- Bone Marrow Biopsy
- Blood tests like blood count, ESR
- Test of heart and lung function before starting chemotherapy.
Staging of Hodgkin Lymphoma
The staging is based on symptoms, imaging and biopsy results. The Lugano classification system is used for staging.
Stage I: Lymphoma is found in only one lymph node area or lymphoid organ. OR the cancer is found in only one area of a single organ outside the lymph system.
Stage II: Lymphoma is found in two or more lymph node areas on the same side of the diaphragm. OR It extends from one lymph node area into a nearby organ.
Stage III: Lymphoma is found in lymph node areas above AND below the diaphragm. OR It is in lymph nodes above the diaphragm as well as in the spleen.
Stage IV: Lymphoma has spread into at least one organ outside the lymph system (liver, bone marrow, lungs)
If the letter X is added to the stage it means that there are tumors in the chest that are at least 1/3 the width of the chest itself, or there are tumors in other parts of the body that are at least 10 cm. across. This is sometimes known as "bulky disease.”
Other designations that may be added to the stage are the letters A or B, with B indicating that the lymphoma is more advanced. Symptoms for a B designation include
- Unintended Weight Loss
- Night sweats.
Treatment of Hodgkin Lymphoma
Treatment is based mostly on the stage of the lymphoma, but other factors include age, general health, and the type/location of the lymphoma. Treatment options include the following:
Prevention of Hodgkin Lymphoma
Since the cause is still unknown and few of the risk factors can be changed, it is not possible to prevent Hodgkin Lymphoma. One way to lower your risk is to avoid exposure to HIV.