Hodgkin lymphoma

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Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of lymphoma. Find out about possible symptoms, treatment and prognosis.

Key points

  • Hodgkin lymphoma is most common in teenagers and young adults.
  • The most common symptom of Hodgkin lymphoma is swollen, painless lymph nodes in the neck.
  • Treatment and prognosis will depend on the stage, the size of the tumour and your symptoms.

What is Hodgkin lymphoma?

Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of lymphoma that is named after Dr. Thomas Hodgkin, who first started learning and talking about the disease in 1832. Hodgkin lymphoma is most common in teenagers and young adults.

The cancer cells in Hodgkin lymphoma come from a mutation or change in the DNA of a lymphocyte, usually a B-lymphocyte. The cancer cells are called Reed-Sternberg cells (R-S cells) after the two doctors who first discovered them.

What are the symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma?

Symptoms are signals from your body that something is wrong. Sometimes you do not even feel symptoms with Hodgkin lymphoma. The most common symptom of Hodgkin lymphoma is swollen, painless, lymph nodes in the neck that feel like a lump under the skin.

Some people also have symptoms that affect their whole body. These are called systemic or constitutional symptoms and include:

  • fever
  • sweating at night to the point that your pyjamas are wet
  • losing weight
  • being very tired.

Sometimes a tumour will be in a lymph node in the chest. This can cause you to cough or have trouble breathing and may sometimes make it hard to lie flat when sleeping.

Treatment and prognosis for Hodgkin lymphoma depends on:

  • the stage (1-4), which indicates how much the cancer has spread
  • whether the tumour is small or bulky
  • whether you have fever, night sweats or weight loss.

If you have any questions about your type of Hodgkin lymphoma, what it means, your treatment or anything else about your cancer, ask someone on your health-care team. Your doctors and nurses want to help you understand.

Last updated: September 3rd 2019