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Disease prevention and treatment

What Is Hodgkin Lymphoma?

Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of cancer . It develops in the white blood cells of the lymphatic system , which is part of the immune system .

The lymphatic system includes:

lymph nodes

the thymus (a gland located behind the breastbone)


tonsils and adenoids (or vegetations)

bone marrow

the tubes, called lymphatic vessels, that connect these parts of the body to each other

Hodgkin lymphoma begins in the lymph nodes in the neck and then spreads from one part of the lymphatic system to another.

In Hodgkin lymphoma, the tumors usually contain unique cells, which are called Reed Sternberg cells. These large cancer cells are not seen in other types of lymphomas.

Who can get Hodgkin lymphoma?

Hodgkin lymphoma can occur at any age. But it is more common in teens (ages 15 and up).

What are the signs and symptoms of Hodgkin lymphomas?

Some patients do not have any symptoms. Others may have one or more of the following symptoms:

swollen or swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit, or groin

unexplained cough and shortness of breath if the cancer affects the lymph nodes in the chest

tiredness or fatigue

lack of appetite


Rash on the skin

night sweats

weight loss

What are the risk factors for Hodgkin lymphoma?

Hodgkin lymphomas are caused by a mutation (a change in a gene ) in the DNA of immature white blood cells called B lymphocytes. These mutations are not inherited.

Having a twin who has had Hodgkin lymphoma increases the chances of developing this type of cancer.

The risk is also higher in those people who:

have severe immunodeficiencies, such as severe combined immunodeficiency (CGI) , an immune problem that makes the child unable to fight infections

have an infection with the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV

are being treated with immunosuppressive medications after having an organ transplant

have had an Epstein-Barr virus infection (or mononucleosis)

How are Hodgkin lymphomas diagnosed?

When doctors suspect Hodgkin lymphoma, they may order several tests.

A lymph node biopsy (removal of a piece of tissue for analysis) is usually the first test performed. There are two types of biopsy:

Core needle biopsy: The doctor sleeps a part of the patient's body under local anesthesia and uses a hollow needle to remove a small amount of tissue from the lymph node.

Incisional or excisional biopsy: An anesthetist administers general anesthesia so that the patient falls asleep throughout the procedure and does not feel any pain. The doctor then opens the skin to remove all of the enlarged lymph node (excisional biopsy) or only part of the node (incisional biopsy).

If the biopsy confirms the presence of Hodgkin lymphoma, more tests will be done to find out if the cancer has spread. These include the following:

blood test

a chest x-ray

a computed tomography (CT or CT) scan, a type of x-ray that rotates around the patient and creates a picture of the inside of the body from different angles

a bone marrow biopsy to detect the presence of cancer

a positron emission tomography (PET) scan , which distinguishes between normal and abnormal cells

How are Hodgkin lymphomas treated?

Treatment for Hodgkin lymphomas may include:

Chemotherapy (chemo) : The use of drugs to kill cancer cells and stop them from growing.

Immunotherapy: Sometimes called biological therapy, this treatment helps the immune system fight cancer.

Stem cell transplant (or bone marrow transplant) : In this treatment, cells are removed from the patient's (or donor's) bone marrow or blood for transplant to the patient after they have received chemotherapy.

Radiation therapy : The use of high-energy x-rays to shrink tumors and stop them from growing. Also called x-ray therapy or radiation therapy.

Clinical trials - These are ways to test new cancer treatments or compare their results with existing treatments. These trials can include all other types of treatments, and are usually aimed at reducing side effects.

Treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma is effective in most children and adolescents. The choice of treatment is based on the stage of the disease. Staging is a way of describing how much cancer is in a person's body and which organs it affects at the time of diagnosis. The stage at diagnosis can help the oncology team (which treats the cancer) to choose the best treatment to follow and to predict the patient's long-term prognosis.

What are the side effects of treating Hodgkin lymphoma?

Hodgkin lymphoma treatment kills both healthy cells and cancer cells. This is associated with the side effects of the treatment.

Intensive treatment of lymphoma affects the bone marrow, which can lead to anemia, easy bleeding, and an increased risk of serious infections.

Chemotherapy has side effects, such as the following:

Short-term: hair loss , increased risk of infection, nausea and vomiting

Long-term : damage to the heart, thyroid gland, and kidneys; fertility problems ; the development of another type of cancer later

Looking to the future

Most children and adolescents with Hodgkin lymphoma are cured, which means they will have long-lasting survival in the absence of cancer.

After treatment, anyone who has had Hodgkin lymphoma should have regular check-ups throughout their lives to make sure their lymphoma does not reactivate.

Having a child who needs to be treated for cancer can be very hard for any family. But you are not alone. To find support, talk with your child's doctor or the hospital social worker. There are many resources available to help you through this difficult time.

Content created and supplied by: chimexdigitalservice (via Opera News )

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