Hodgkin’s lymphoma, previously known as Hodgkin’s disease, is a type of lymphoma, which is a type of cancer originating from white blood cells called lymphocytes. It was named after Thomas Hodgkin, who first described abnormalities in the lymph system in 1832. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is characterized by the orderly spread of disease from one lymph node group to another and by the development of systemic symptoms with advanced disease.
Estimated new cases and deaths from Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the United States in 2009:
New cases: 8,510
When Hodgkins cells are examined microscopically, multinucleated Reed-Sternberg cells (RS cells) are the characteristic histopathologic finding. Hodgkin’s lymphoma may be treated with radiation therapy or chemotherapy, the choice of treatment depending on the age and sex of the patient and the stage, bulk and histological subtype of the disease.
The disease occurrence shows two peaks: the first in young adulthood (age 15–35) and the second in those over 55 years old.
The staging of the disease is as follows:
Cancerous cells are found in only one lymph node group or one area outside of the lymphatic system.
Two lymph groups are affected on the same side of the diaphragm, or one lymph group and a nearby organ are affected.
Lymph groups on both sides of the diaphragm are involved. Lymph cells may also have moved to one internal organ, such as the liver or lungs. Cells may also have metastasized to the spleen.
More than one organ is involved. Bone marrow may also be affected.