In Switzerland, about 270 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma each year, and about 30 die from it each year.
Hodgkin's lymphoma is one of the rarer cancers. Worldwide, around 83,000 people are diagnosed with it every year.
To understand what Hodgkin lymphoma is, it helps to know about the lymph system (also known as the lymphatic system).
The lymph system is part of the immune system, which helps fight infections and some other diseases. It runs through the entire body and consists of a network of lymphatic vessels, lymph nodes and lymphatic organs. The lymph nodes consist of certain types of lymphocytes.
There are 2 main types of lymphocytes:
Hodgkin lymphoma usually starts in B lymphocytes.
Hodgkin's lymphoma is named after the British physician Thomas Hodgkin (1798-1866), who first described the disease in 1832.
Around 95 percent of all cases are classic Hodgkin's lymphoma (cHL). The cancer cells in this form are usually an abnormal type of B lymphocyte and are called Reed-Sternberg cells.
Classic Hodgkin’s lymphoma has 4 subtypes:
Most affected individuals show an easily palpable and often painless swelling of one or more lymph nodes in the neck, under the arm, or groin. The affected area may become painful after drinking alcohol. It may enlarge over time, or new enlarged lymph nodes may appear nearby or in other parts of the body.
Still, Hodgkin Lymphoma is not the most common cause of lymph node swelling. Most enlarged lymph nodes, especially in children, are caused by an infection. The affected lymph nodes usually hurt when they’re touched.
Other, so-called B symptoms, include:
Other possible symptoms of HL include:
These symptoms can also have other, more harmless causes than cancer. However, they should always be checked by a doctor. The earlier a tumor is detected, the better the treatment options and chances of recovery.
The risk factors for developing Hodgkin's lymphoma are still unclear today, and the presence of one or more risk factors does not mean that the disease will actually occur. Many people who develop Hodgkin lymphoma have few or no known risk factors.
Known risk factors include:
Other possible risk factors are:
Only a few of the risk factors for Hodgkin's lymphoma can be influenced. Therefore, it is not possible to prevent most cases of the disease at this time.
One risk factor that can be influenced is smoking. Avoiding tobacco can minimize the risk of developing Hodgkin's lymphoma.
After a Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosis, there is a good chance of long-term cure. Chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy is generally used to treat Hodgkin's lymphoma. Possible options in case of recurrence of the disease or if the therapy does not work are stem cell transplantation, targeted therapy or immunotherapy.
In Switzerland, about 270 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma each year. Most affected are adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 30.