Definition

Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a series of tubes and nodes that run through the body. It contains a fluid that helps fight infections and moves waste out of the body.

This cancer starts in a type of lymph cell called a lymphocyte. These cells spread throughout the lymphatic system. Over time, the cells will make it harder for a child's body to fight infections.

The Lymphatic System

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Causes

The exact cause is not known. It may be a mix of genetics and an abnormal response to infection.

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in males. It is also more common in people between the ages of 15 and 34 years, or over 55 years.

Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • A history of mononucleosis and Epstein-Barr virus infection
  • Family history of Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Having a weakened immune system from problems such as HIV/AIDS

Symptoms

Problems may be:

  • Painless swelling in the neck, armpit, groin, or chest
  • Tiredness
  • Lack of hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Night sweating
  • Itchy skin

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the lymph nodes.

Blood tests may be done to look for signs of cancer.

Fluid and tissue samples may be taken to look for signs of cancer. This can be done with:

Images of the body may need to be taken. This can be done with:

Treatment

Treatment depends on the stage of the disease. The stage is how far the cancer has spread and what organs are affected.

Options are:

  • One or both of these cancer therapies:
    • Chemotherapy to kill cancer cells using medicines
    • Radiation aimed at a specific area to kill cancer cells
  • Surgery to remove a lymph node
  • A bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell transplant to help the body rebuild lymph cells

Prevention

There are no known guidelines to prevent this health problem.

RESOURCES:

American Cancer Society
http://www.cancer.org

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
http://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Cancer Society
http://www.cancer.ca

Lymphoma Foundation Canada
http://www.lymphoma.ca

REFERENCES:

Hodgkin lymphoma. Leukemia and Lymphoma Society website. Available at: https://www.lls.org/lymphoma/hodgkin-lymphoma. Accessed December 17, 2020.

Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hodgkin-lymphoma-hl. Accessed December 17, 2020.

Shanbhag S, Ambinder RF. Hodgkin lymphoma: A review and update on recent progress. CA Cancer J Clin. 2018 Mar;68(2):116-132.

Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Chelsea Skucek, MSN, BS, RNC-NIC  Last Updated: 12/17/2020