Hodgkin disease (Hodgkin lymphoma) is a type of lymphoma, a cancer that starts in white blood cells called lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are part of the body’s immune system.
he diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma can only be made by a tissue biopsy -- cutting a tissue sample for examination. If you have an enlarged, painless lymph node that your doctor suspects may be due to Hodgkin lymphoma, tissue will be taken for biopsy or the entire node will be removed. The diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma is sometimes confirmed by the presence of a type of cell called a Reed-Sternberg cell.
If a biopsy reveals that you do have Hodgkin lymphoma, you may need additional tests to determine the extent, or stage, of the disease. Tests include blood tests, chest X-ray, computed tomography (CT) scans of the chest, abdomen and pelvis, and possibly the neck, and a PET scans. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, bone scans, spinal tap (lumbar puncture), and bone marrow studies are useful under special circumstances (WebMD Medical Reference, 2013).
Stage I. Hodgkin lymphoma is found in only one lymph node area or structure (such as the spleen).
Stage II. Hodgkin lymphoma is found in two or more lymph node areas on the same side of the diaphragm (the muscle beneath the lungs that moves up and down to help you breathe).
Stage III. Hodgkin lymphoma is in lymph nodes on both sides of the diaphragm, or the cancer may also have extended to an area or organ adjacent to the lymph node or to the spleen.
Stage IV. Hodgkin lymphoma has spread to one or more organs outside the lymphatic system such as the bone marrow or liver.
Refractory or recurrent Hodgkin lymphoma. Refractory disease is the term used when the disease does not respond to initial therapy. Recurrent disease means that Hodgkin lymphoma has come back after it has been treated. This may occur shortly after treatment or, less commonly, years later.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (sometimes called NHL, or just lymphoma) is a cancer that starts in cells called lymphocytes.There are many types of NHL. Sometimes they are grouped as:
Slow-growing lymphomas, which spread slowly and cause few symptoms. These may also be called indolent or low-grade lymphomas.
Fast-growing lymphomas, which spread quickly and cause severe symptoms. These may also be called aggressive lymphomas and may be classified as intermediate-grade or high-grade.
Treatment can cure some people and may allow others to live for years. How long you live depends on the type of NHL you have and the stage of your disease (how far it has progressed).
The cause for both Hodgkin's and Non Hodgkin's is unknown; it may be triggered by infection or a compromised immune system. Symptoms may include fever, night sweats, swollen glands, fatigue, and weight loss (WedMD Medical Reference, 2013).