This type of cancer is also called Hodgkin disease. Every year in the United States, more than 8,000 people learn they have this disease. Cancer research has led to real progress against Hodgkin lymphoma. Most people diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma can now be cured, or their disease can be controlled for many years. Continuing research offers hope that, in the future, even more people with this disease will be treated successfully.
Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer that begins in cells of the immune system. The immune system fights infections and other diseases. The lymphatic system is part of the immune system. The lymphatic system includes the following:
Lymph vessels: The lymphatic system has a network of lymph vessels. Lymph vessels branch into all the tissues of the body.
Lymph: The lymph vessels carry clear fluid called lymph. Lymph contains white blood cells, especially lymphocytes such as B cells and T cells.
Lymph nodes: Lymph vessels are connected to small, round masses of tissue called lymph nodes. Groups of lymph nodes are found in the neck, underarms, chest, abdomen and groin. Lymph nodes store white blood cells. They trap and remove bacteria or other harmful substances that may be in the lymph.
Other parts of the lymphatic system: Other parts of the lymphatic system include the tonsils, thymus and spleen. Lymphatic tissue is also found in other parts of the body including the stomach, skin and small intestine.
Because lymphatic tissue is in many parts of the body, Hodgkin lymphoma can start almost anywhere. Usually, it’s first found in a lymph node above the diaphragm, the thin muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. But Hodgkin lymphoma also may be found in a group of lymph nodes. Sometimes it starts in other parts of the lymphatic system.
- Swollen lymph nodes (that do not hurt) in the neck, underarms or groin
- Becoming more sensitive to the effects of alcohol or having painful lymph nodes after drinking alcohol
- Weight loss for no known reason
- Fever that does not go away
- Soaking night sweats
- Itchy skin
- Coughing, trouble breathing or chest pain
- Weakness and tiredness that don’t go away
Most often these symptoms are not due to cancer. Infections or other health problems may cause these symptoms. Anyone with symptoms that last more than 2 weeks should see a doctor so that problems can be diagnosed and treated.