Adult Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment
General Information About Adult Hodgkin Lymphoma
Key Points for this Section
Adult Hodgkin lymphoma is a disease in which malignant
(cancer) cells form in the lymph system.
Adult Hodgkin lymphoma
is a type of cancer that develops in the
lymph system, part of the body's
The lymph system is made up of the following:
- Lymph: Colorless,
watery fluid that travels through the lymph system and carries
white blood cells called
lymphocytes. Lymphocytes protect the
body against infections and the
growth of tumors.
- Lymph vessels: A network of thin tubes that collect lymph
from different parts of the body and return it to the bloodstream.
- Lymph nodes:
Small, bean-shaped structures that filter lymph and store white blood cells that help fight
infection and disease. Lymph nodes are located along the network of lymph vessels
found throughout the body. Clusters of lymph nodes are found in the underarm,
- Spleen: An organ
that makes lymphocytes, filters the blood, stores blood cells, and destroys
old blood cells. It is located on the left side of the abdomen near the
- Thymus: An organ
in which lymphocytes grow and multiply. The thymus is in the chest behind the
- Tonsils: Two small
masses of lymph tissue at the
back of the throat. The tonsils produce lymphocytes.
- Bone marrow: The
soft, spongy tissue in the center of large bones. Bone marrow produces white
blood cells, red blood cells, and
Anatomy of the lymph system, showing the lymph vessels and lymph organs including lymph nodes, tonsils, thymus, spleen, and bone marrow. Lymph (clear fluid) and lymphocytes travel through the lymph vessels and into the lymph nodes where the lymphocytes destroy harmful substances. The lymph enters the blood through a large vein near the heart.
Because lymph tissue is found throughout the body, Hodgkin
lymphoma can begin in almost any part of the body and spread to almost any
tissue or organ in the body.
Lymphomas are divided into two general types: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. This summary is about the treatment of adult Hodgkin lymphoma. (See the PDQ summary on Adult Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment for more information.)
Hodgkin lymphoma can occur in both adults and children; however,
treatment for adults may be different than treatment for children. Hodgkin lymphoma may also occur in patients who have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS); these
patients require special treatment.
the following PDQ summaries for more information:
Hodgkin lymphoma in pregnant women is the same as the disease in nonpregnant women of childbearing age. However, treatment is different for pregnant women. This summary includes information about treating Hodgkin lymphoma during pregnancy.
There are two main types of Hodgkin lymphoma: classical and nodular lymphocyte-predominant.
Most Hodgkin lymphomas are the classical type. The classical type is broken down into the following four subtypes:
- Nodular sclerosing Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Mixed cellularity Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Lymphocyte depletion Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Lymphocyte-rich classical Hodgkin lymphoma.
Age, gender, and Epstein-Barr infection can affect
the risk of developing adult Hodgkin lymphoma.
Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn't mean that you will not get cancer. People who think they may be at risk should discuss this with their doctor. Risk factors for adult
Hodgkin lymphoma include the following:
Pregnancy is not a risk factor for Hodgkin lymphoma.
Possible signs of adult Hodgkin lymphoma include swollen lymph
nodes, fever, night sweats, and weight loss.
These and other symptoms may be caused by adult Hodgkin lymphoma.
Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. A doctor should be consulted if any of the following
problems do not go away:
- Painless, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, or
- Fever for no known reason.
- Drenching night sweats.
- Weight loss for no known reason.
- Itchy skin.
- Feeling very tired.
Tests that examine the lymph nodes are used to detect (find)
and diagnose adult Hodgkin lymphoma.
The following tests and procedures may be used:
Certain factors affect prognosis (chance
of recovery) and treatment options.
The prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options depend on the following:
- The patient's symptoms.
- The stage of the cancer.
- The type of Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Blood test results.
- The patient's age, gender, and general health.
- Whether the cancer is recurrent or progressive.
For Hodgkin lymphoma during pregnancy, treatment options also depend on:
- The wishes of the patient.
- The age of the fetus.
Adult Hodgkin lymphoma can usually be cured if found and treated early.