What is Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (HL)?
Hodgkin’s lymphoma, also known as Hodgkin’s disease, is a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system. It is the most common type of lymphoma found in adults in the United States and accounts for approximately 10,000 new cases each year. HL is characterized by the enlargement of lymph nodes and organs, as well as the growth of abnormal lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell. It has a high rate of successful treatment and is typically curable when identified early.
Causes and Risks Factors of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
The exact cause of Hodgkin’s lymphoma is still unknown, but certain factors can increase the risk of having this type of cancer. These include radiation exposure, infection with certain types of viruses or bacteria, a weakened immune system, and genetics.
Signs and Symptoms of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Signs and symptoms of Hodgkin’s lymphoma usually begin as a painless enlargement of lymph nodes, most commonly in the neck, underarm, or groin area. Other symptoms may include night sweats, fever, weight loss, and itching of the skin. Symptoms may vary depending on the type of Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Diagnosis and Tests for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
To diagnose Hodgkin’s lymphoma, doctors usually begin with a physical exam, followed by imaging tests, such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRI. Other tests, including blood tests and biopsies, may also be ordered to look for signs of lymphoma.
Treatments and Health Care for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma typically includes chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of both. Surgery may also be used to remove lymph nodes and other affected tissue. For some people, a stem cell transplant may be recommended.
Managing Health After Treatment
After treatment, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly. Staying in contact with your doctor is also essential, as regular checkups and tests can help to detect any recurrence or other health issues. Patients should also pay attention to any changes in their body, as these can be signs of a relapse.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a treatable form of cancer that can be effectively managed with timely diagnosis and proper treatment. Although the exact cause of the disease is still unknown, certain factors can increase the risk of having the disease. Common symptoms of HL include enlarged lymph nodes, night sweats, fever, and weight loss. Diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma is often made through physical exam and imaging tests. Treatment typically includes chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of both. Patients should maintain a healthy lifestyle after treatment and keep in contact with their doctor to detect any recurrence or health issues.