Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Facts
Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a rare type of Lymphoma cancer which is a cancer of the blood. Hodgkin’s lymphoma, also referred to as Hodgkin’s disease, affects the lymphatic system, specifically the white blood cells which fight infection, making them abnormal.
The lymphatic system comprises of the spleen, tonsils, lymph nodes and thymus.
Symptoms of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
The symptoms of this cancer are similar to those of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma which include:
- Painless swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, groin and armpits,
- Unexplained weight loss,
- Severe itching, Night sweats, and
- Increased sensitivity to the effects of alcohol.
Causes of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
The exact cause of Hodgkin’s lymphoma is not known, but the risk factors that increase a person’s chance to develop this disease include:
- Having a weak immune system due to certain drugs or after an organ transplant,
- A family history with lymphoma,
- Viruses like HIV and Epstein-Barr which also affect the body’s immune system, and
- Males are more likely to develop Hodgkin’s Lymphoma than females.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Hodgkin’s lymphoma can be diagnosed through a physical exam, Imaging tests like CT, PET scan and x-ray, removing a lymph node or bone marrow to test for the cancer or by carrying out blood tests which can help in determining whether a person has cancer.
The stage and type of Hodgkin’s lymphoma one has, determines the treatment option to be used. These treatment options for this cancer include; chemotherapy, radiotherapy and bone marrow transplant, among others.
You can reduce your risk of getting this cancer by:
- Protecting yourself against infection such as HIV which weaken your immune system,
- Maintaining a healthy diet rich in fibre and low in calories from carbohydrates and fats,
- Keeping yourself physically active by exercising regularly,
- Getting regular screening