What is Hodgkin’s lymphoma?

Hodgkin’s lymphoma, also known as Hodgkin’s disease, is one of a group of cancers called lymphomas. Lymphoma is a general term for cancers that develop in the lymphatic system. Hodgkin’s disease accounts for around 11 to 12 percent of lymphomas and is the most curable type of lymphoma. Other cancers of the lymphatic system are called non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas.

In Hodgkin’s disease, cells in the lymphatic system become abnormal. They divide too rapidly and grow uncontrollably. Because lymphatic tissue is present in many parts of the body, Hodgkin’s disease can start almost anywhere. Hodgkin’s disease may occur in a single lymph node, a group of lymph nodes, or sometimes, in other parts of the lymphatic system, such as the bone marrow and spleen.

This type of cancer tends to spread in a fairly orderly way from one group of lymph nodes to the next group. For example, Hodgkin’s disease that arises in the lymph nodes in the neck spreads first to the nodes above the collarbones, and then to the lymph nodes under the arms and within the chest.

Eventually, it can spread to almost any other part of the body. People who are concerned about the chance of developing Hodgkin’s disease should talk with their doctor about the disease, the symptoms to watch for and an appropriate schedule for checkups.

For more information contact Courtney Britton, librarian at Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge at (225) 927-2273, cbritton@cancerservices.org , or visit the Education Center at 550 Lobdell Ave., Baton Rouge.


Internet Resources:

National Cancer Institute


Leukemia and Lymphoma Society


This column is presented as a service by Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge, a United Way affiliate.