Hodgkin lymphoma is a kind of cancer that is associated with abnormal B lymphocytes. B lymphocytes are part of the normal immune system but when they become abnormal and grow in cancerous fashion can cause large lymph nodes and lots of constitutional symptoms.
Hodgkin lymphoma patients often present with enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, chest or sometimes also in the abdomen.
What is lymphoma?
Lymphomas are the tumor of the lymphoma glands. Which starts in the lymph glands, but may spread to other organs? Both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin are cancers of lymph glands. They differ because they look different under a microscope. Hodgkin lymphoma is mainly one disease in younger people. The non-Hodgkin lymphomas are cancer of lymph glands, all of which behave differently and require a different type of treatment.
Lymphoma is simply a collection of white blood cells. For whatever reason, they are not dying or there is something wrong with how the immune system is causing them to replicate and they are replicating out of control. About 85 percent of all are lymphoma and only a small fraction of lymphomas are Hodgkin lymphoma.
What causes lymphoma?
Patients on long-term drugs which suppress immunity or if they have had a transplant of heart, or lungs, or kidneys, they have increased incidents of lymphoma. And patients whose immunity reduced by HIV, May also have an increased incidence of lymphoma. But in most patients, we don’t know why they get this disease.
Hodgkin lymphoma symptoms?
The commonest symptoms of lymphomas are those of painless, swelling of the lymph glands, and this can be in the neck, under an arm, in the groins. It may be accompanied by sweats, or fever or weight loss.
In Hodgkin lymphoma occasionally severe skin itching. If the lymph glands enlargement in the chest, patients may have a cough, shortness of breath, and if the lymph gland enlargement is in the abdomen, in the tummy, then patients may have abdominal swelling, or pain, or constipation, or diarrhea.
Lymphoma can only be diagnosed by taking a biopsy of lymph glands. Once you have made a diagnosis of lymphoma so we need to do a CT scan, PET scan to establish where else there might be large lymph glands. Sometimes done Bone marrow test to see, whether there are any lymphoma cells in the bone marrow. Occasionally lumbar puncture or MRI scans to see whether there are any lymphoma cells in the spinal fluid or in the brain. Blood test to make sure the patients are making the blood normally. Before starting treatment doctor make sure that patient not carrying viruses like HIV or Hepatitis.
Treatment options for Hodgkin lymphoma
Once the patients have been diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma and have completed the staging evaluation can then proceed to chemotherapy. A staging evaluation is when the CAT scan, PET scan, blood work, and sometimes a bone marrow test is done to determine where in the body the Hodgkin lymphoma is present. That’s an important evaluation because it determines treatment and treatment is largely defined in two large categories.
Firstly, patients who have the limited-stage disease, this is the disease that’s localized just on one side of the diaphragm and that allows for patients to be treated shorter courses of chemotherapy commonly than with radiation therapy added as a consolidation.
Patients who have more extensive disease means advance stage disease, have disease on both sides of their diaphragm and commonly than are treated with just chemotherapy but for a more prolonged period of time, the expectation is that most patients benefit from treatment. Probably around 80% of patients will have a complete response to treatment. Though many patients do benefit from treatment and have a very good long-term outcome.
But there are some patients, unfortunately still have problems with their disease returning and may need to go on additional chemotherapy and even possibly an autologous stem cell transplant. It’s because of the not every single patients has a good outcome.