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Hodgkin lymphoma 

This page was reviewed under our medical and editorial policy by Maurie Markman, MD, President, Medicine & Science

This page was updated on July 20, 2022.

Hodgkin lymphoma, formerly known as Hodgkin’s disease, is a rare cancer that develops in the lymphatic system, which circulates through lymph nodes and other organs, filtering out impurities and imperfections. Fewer than 9,000 cases of Hodgkin lymphoma are diagnosed every year, making it the least common of the four major types of blood cancer. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that 8,570 new cases of Hodgkin lymphoma will be diagnosed in the United States in 2024, with 4,630 in men and 3,940 in women.

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Considering Hodgkin lymphoma’s complexities and similarities to other blood cancers, it’s important to consult with an experienced team of cancer doctors and clinicians trained to accurately diagnose the disease and develop a treatment plan tailored to each patient’s needs.

At City of Hope, our medical oncologists, hematologist-oncologists and other experts have years of experience delivering the standard-of-care and precision cancer treatments available to treat Hodgkin lymphoma. Our whole-person care model is also designed to support patients throughout their treatment journey, offering supportive care services to help them manage side effects and maintain their quality of life.

This overview will cover the basic facts about Hodgkin lymphoma, including:

If you believe you may be experiencing symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma and want to schedule an appointment for diagnostic testing, or if you’re interested in a second opinion for your Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis and treatment plan, call us or chat online with a member of our team.

What is Hodgkin lymphoma?

What causes Hodgkin lymphoma?

Cancer research has not identified the cause of this type of lymphoma. Risk factors that may increase the chances of developing the disease include:

  • Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), known for causing “mono” (mononucleosis) in young adults
  • Compromised immune system, such as from HIV/AIDS or immunosuppressants to prevent organ transplant rejection
  • A family history of the disease

Learn more about risk factors for Hodgkin lymphoma

Who gets Hodgkin lymphoma?

Adults in their 20s and early 30s and those over age 55 are at an increased risk for developing Hodgkin lymphoma. It is most common in early adulthood.

Men have a slightly greater chance of developing the disease than women. Hodgkin lymphoma is most common in North America and northern Europe. It also is more common in individuals with a higher socioeconomic background.

Stephen Hook

Stephen H.

Hodgkin Lymphoma

"There is so much more to the experience of City of Hope than just the treatment. Some people have asked me why I travel for treatment, why I don’t just go somewhere local. Doesn’t it make life complicated? No, it doesn’t. City of Hope takes the worry away. Scheduling, appointments, all of these details are taken care of. My response when people ask me about the inconvenience of traveling for treatment is that all I need to do is get there and get myself home. City of Hope takes care of everything else."


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Hodgkin lymphoma types

Hodgkin lymphoma symptoms

Hodgkin lymphoma symptoms share many characteristics with other illnesses, such as a cold or flu. During the early stages of Hodgkin lymphoma, cancer cells may not cause any symptoms.

An early sign of Hodgkin lymphoma may be swelling in one or more of the lymph nodes, usually in the neck. When the concentration of white blood cells increases as part of the body’s immune system response to virus or infection, the lymph nodes can become swollen. In some cases, the swelling is caused by another condition, like cancer.

Common symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma include:

  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, armpit or groin
  • Intermittent fevers
  • Drenching night sweats
  • Fatigue, or feeling tired all the time
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest discomfort
  • Decreased appetite
  • Abdominal pain or swelling
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Rash or itching

Learn more about symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma

Diagnosing Hodgkin lymphoma

Treating Hodgkin lymphoma

According to the ACS, the five-year survival rate for Hodgkin lymphoma ranges from 78 percent for cancer that has spread to distant parts of the body to 92 percent for cancer that has not spread outside the lymph system. Treatment options for Hodgkin lymphoma may include:

Learn more about treatment options for Hodgkin lymphoma

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