Hodgkin's lymphoma is also called Hodgkin's disease. It is one form of cancer of the lymph system.
Hodgkin's lymphoma accounts for less than 4 percent of all cancers in children up to age 14, but in the United States, is the most common cancer in teens from age 15 to 19 and occurs most often in people between the ages of 15 and 40 and after the age of 55. There are three categories based on age groups. The Childhood form is in children from birth to age 14; Young Adult form is considered from age 15 to 34; and the Older Adult form from ages 55 to 74.
The lymph system is made up of lymph nodes that are located all over your body, and lymphocytes, which are the type of cells in the nodes that make antibodies to help fight off bacteria and viruses. In some parts of the body, there are groups of lymph nodes. These can be found under your arms, in your neck, abdomen, groin area, and pelvis. Lymphocytes are made in your spleen, which filters blood, and in the thymus and tonsils.
Hodgkin's lymphoma most often starts in the neck and near the thymus, between the lungs, breastbone, and spine. But, because the lymph system runs throughout your body, Hodgkin's lymphoma can begin in any of your lymph nodes. If it spreads outside the lymph system, the organs most likely to be affected are the lungs, bones, bone marrow, and liver.
Hodgkin's Lymphoma Types
There are four types of Hodgkin's lymphoma:
Nodular sclerosis Hodgkin disease (NSHD) is the most common type and occurs most often in girls. Tumors begin in the neck, chest, or abdomen, and may spread to the lungs.
Mixed cellularity Hodgkin disease (MCHD) is diagnosed most often in people who have had the Epstein-Barr virus and occurs more frequently in boys. People who have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), are also frequently diagnosed with this type of Hodgkin's lymphoma, which begins in the abdomen or spleen.
Lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin disease (LPHD) begins in the lymph nodes under the arm, in the neck, and in the groin area. This type of disease is found most often in boys and rarely in girls.
Lymphocyte depleted Hodgkin disease (LDHD) is very rare in children, yet it is an aggressive form of the disease. It occurs in the abdomen or pelvis usually.
There are no known risk factors for Hodgkin's disease, although about one-third of children and teens who have had the Epstein Barr virus have developed Hodgkin's disease. Other children with immune problems have also been at slightly higher risk for developing this cancer.
Society of Clinical Oncology www.cancernet.com
Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine (2008). McGraw Hill, New York, NY