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Hodgkin Disease


What is Hodgkin disease?

Hodgkin disease, or Hodgkin lymphoma, is a cancer of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system contains lymph vessels, lymph nodes, and glands. Lymph vessels carry lymph fluid throughout the body. Lymph fluid contains lymphocytes (white blood cells) that help fight infection and disease. Hodgkin lymphoma causes lymphocytes to grow and divide without control and to form tumors.

What increases my risk for Hodgkin disease?

  • A family history of Hodgkin disease
  • Infections caused by viruses, such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
  • Health conditions that affect your immune system, such as autoimmune disease or HIV

What are the signs and symptoms of Hodgkin disease?

  • Swollen lymph node in your neck or underarm
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss you cannot explain
  • Fatigue
  • Itchy skin

How is Hodgkin disease diagnosed?

  • Blood tests will show abnormal white blood cells.
  • X-ray, CT scan, or PET scan images will show the location of the cancer. The images may also help your healthcare provider determine the stage of your cancer.
  • A lymph node biopsy is a procedure to remove lymph node tissue to be tested. Your healthcare provider may use a needle to take a sample from a lymph node, or remove a lymph node during surgery.

How is Hodgkin disease treated?

  • Chemotherapy is medicine used to treat cancer by killing tumor cells. Chemotherapy may also be used to shrink lymph nodes that contain cancer.
  • Radiation therapy uses x-rays or gamma rays to treat cancer. Radiation kills cancer cells and may stop the cancer from spreading. It may be given alone or with chemotherapy.
  • A bone marrow transplant is a procedure to replace your diseased bone marrow with healthy marrow. You are usually given bone marrow from a donor. Sometimes your own marrow may be used if it is collected when your cancer is in remission (not active). The bone marrow transplant is given to you in an IV while you are in the hospital.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You feel a new lump.
  • You lose weight without trying.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • You have sudden chest pain.
  • You have trouble breathing.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.