Hodgkin lymphoma is a less common kind of cancer that develops in the lymphatic system, where a group of vessels and glands spread throughout your body.
The lymphatic system is a component of your immune system. Clear fluid, known as lymph flows through the lymphatic vessels and carries infection-fighting white blood cells, which are lymphocytes.
In Hodgkin lymphoma, B-lymphocytes (a certain type of lymphocyte) start to multiply in an abnormal pattern and start to collect in some parts of the lymphatic system like the lymph nodes (glands). The affected lymphocytes lose their infection-fighting attributes, which makes you more susceptible to infection.
The most common symptom of Hodgkin lymphoma is a painless inflammation in a lymph node, usually in the neck, armpit or groin.
Who is Affected?
Hodgkin lymphoma can develop at any age, but it commonly affects young adults in their early 20s and older adults above the age of 70. To some extent more men than women are affected.
What causes Hodgkin Lymphoma?
The precise cause of Hodgkin lymphoma is unknown. However, your chance of developing the condition is increased if:
You have an underlying medical situation that weakens your immune system,
You take immunosuppressant medicines.
You've formerly been exposed to a common virus known as the Epstein-Barr virus – which causes glandular fever.
You are also at higher risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma if a first-degree relative (parent, sibling or child) has had the condition in the past.
How Hodgkin Lymphoma is diagnosed
The only option to confirm a diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma is by performing a biopsy.
This is a minor surgical process where a sample of affected lymph node tissue is taken out and studied in a laboratory.
Treatment and outlook
Hodgkin lymphoma is a pretty aggressive cancer and can easily spread through the body. In spite of this, it's also one of the most easily treated types of cancer.
Your suggested treatment plan will rely on your general health and age, because most of the treatments can put a tremendous tension on the body. How far the cancer has spread is also an vital factor in determining the best treatment.
The major treatments used are chemotherapy, followed by radiotherapy or just chemotherapy. Surgery is not usually used as a treatment for the condition.
Overall, around 85% of persons with Hodgkin lymphoma live at least 5 years and most of these will be cured. However, there's a risk of continuing problems after treatment, including infertility and an increased chance of developing another type of cancer in the future.
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