Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer that develops in the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is much less common than non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; the latter accounts for 4.3 percent of cancers in the United States and is the seventh most common type of cancer, while the former is responsible for only 0.5 percent of cancers and ranks 25th on the list of common types of the disease.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma occurs slightly more often in men than in women and mainly affects people in their late teens and young adulthood and those who are older than 55. The disease is highly treatable if detected early.
Symptoms of Hodgkin’s lymphoma
The disease may manifest in the following signs and symptoms:
- swollen lymph nodes that usually aren’t painful and are the most visible in the neck, armpits, and groin;
- lymph nodes may hurt following alcohol consumption;
- heightened sensitivity to alcohol;
- constantly feeling tired and weak;
- night sweats;
- itchy skin;
- unintended weight loss.
If you have any of the signs and symptoms listed above, make an appointment with your doctor.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma risk factors
Some people are more likely than others to get Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Factors that increase your risk of developing the disease include the following:
- Epstein-Barr virus infection, especially if it occurred later in life;
- having a close blood relative (especially, a parent or sibling) who has or had Hodgkin’s lymphoma;
- gender: The risk of developing the disease is slightly higher in men than in women;
- age: The disease is often diagnosed in people who are in their twenties and in people who are older than 55;
- place of residence: The disease is more common in the United States, Canada, and European countries than in Africa and Asia;
- HIV/AIDS: People whose immune system is weakened by the virus are at a higher risk of the disease.
Treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Treatment depends on the type and stage of the disease and may involve the following:
- chemotherapy (intravenous, oral, or both);
- radiation therapy, in which high-energy beams are directed at the affected areas of the body to destroy cancer cells;
- bone marrow transplant, which is usually an option if the two treatments listed above weren’t effective;
- immunotherapy, which stimulates your immune system to fight cancer.
Treatment works for most people, even many of those in the later stages of the disease. After undergoing treatment, you will need regular tests to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned.