Hodgkin’s lymphoma, also known as Hodgkin’s disease, is one of the most common types of lymphatic cancer (cancer of the immune system) and is one of the most curable forms of cancer. Lymphoma is a term used to describe cancers that affect the lymph nodes and lymph system (immune system), which is also composed of many blood vessels and organs, including the spleen, areas of the intestines, thymus gland, tonsils, and adenoids.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma has two main types: 1) Classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and 2) nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the most common type of Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is characterized by large, abnormal cells (Reed-Sternberg cells) in the lymph nodes and is divided into four subtypes: 1) nodular sclerosis Hodgkin’s lymphoma, 2) mixed cellularity Hodgkin’s lymphoma, 3) lymphocyte-depleted Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and 4) lymphocyte-rich Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Nodular sclerosis Hodgkin’s lymphoma is rare, grows more slowly than classic Hodgkin’s lymphoma, is characterized by large, abnormal cells called popcorn cells, is treated differently, and has a better chance of cure.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma is categorized by the following stages:
Stage I – The lymphoma is only in one lymph node region or a single organ.
Stage II – The lymphoma is in two lymph node regions or has spread (metastasized) to one organ and its nearly lymph nodes but is limited to either above or below the diaphragm.
Stage III – The lymphoma has spread to the lymph nodes both above and below the diaphragm and may have spread (metastasized) to tissue near an organ, lymph nodes, or the spleen.
Stage IV – In this advanced stage of lymphoma, the cancer has spread (metastasized) to several areas of one or more organs or tissues and affects the lymph nodes and other areas of the body, such as the lungs, liver, or bone.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma is further described as either A (no significant symptoms) or B (significant symptoms, such as chronic fever, unexplained weight loss, and severe night sweats).