The lymphatic system is part of the immune system, whose function is to fight disease and infections.
The lymphatic system includes:
lymph - fluid in which the lymphocyte cells are suspended.
lymph vessels - thin tubes that carry lymph fluid throughout the body.
lymphocytes - cells that fight infection and disease.
lymph nodes - bean-shaped organs, found in the underarm, groin, neck, abdomen, and other parts of the body, that act as filters for the lymph fluid as it passes through them.
What is Hodgkin disease?
Hodgkin disease is a type of lymphoma, a cancer in the lymphatic system. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2009 about 8,510 new cases will be diagnosed. About 10 percent to 15 percent of cases are found in children 16 years old and teenagers.
Hodgkin disease causes the cells in the lymphatic system to abnormally reproduce, eventually making the body less able to fight infection. Hodgkin disease cells can also spread to other organs.
What are the symptoms of Hodgkin disease?
The following are the most common symptoms of Hodgkin disease. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- painless swelling of lymph nodes in neck, underarm, and/or groin
- night sweats
- weight loss
- itching of the skin
The symptoms of Hodgkin disease may resemble other blood disorders or medical problems, such as influenza or other infections. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.
What are the risk factors for Hodgkin disease?
Suggested risk factors for Hodgkin disease include the following:
- infection with infectious mononucleosis
Infection with the Epstein-Barr virus that causes mononucleosis (also called “mono”) has been linked to Hodgkin disease.
- infection with infectious mononucleosis
Hodgkin disease occurs most often in people between ages 15 and 40, and in people over the age of 55.
Hodgkin disease is more common in men than in women.
- family history
Brothers and sisters of those with Hodgkin disease have a higher-than-average chance of developing this disease.
How is Hodgkin disease diagnosed?
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for Hodgkin disease may include the following:
- blood tests
- x-ray of the chest - a diagnostic test which uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
- computed tomography (Also called a CT or CAT scan.) - a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than standard x-rays.
- magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body
- positron emission tomography (PET) scan - a type of nuclear medicine procedure. This means that a tiny amount of a radioactive substance, called a radionuclide (radiopharmaceutical or radioactive tracer), is used during the procedure to assist in the examination of the tissue under study. Specifically, PET studies evaluate the metabolism of a particular organ or tissue, so that information about the physiology (functionality) and anatomy (structure) of the organ or tissue is evaluated, as well as its biochemical properties. Thus, PET may detect biochemical changes in an organ or tissue that can identify the onset of a disease process before anatomical changes related to the disease can be seen with other imaging processes such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
- lymph node biopsy - a procedure performed to remove tissue or cells from the body for examination under a microscope.
Treatment for Hodgkin disease:
Specific treatment for Hodgkin disease will be determined by your physician based on:
- your age, overall health, and medical history
- extent of the disease
- your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- expectations for the course of the disease
- your opinion or preference
Treatment may include:
- radiation therapy
- high-dose chemotherapy with bone marrow or peripheral stem cell transplantation
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Disclaimer - This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information provided is intended to be informative and educational and is not a replacement for professional evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional. © 2009 Staywell Custom Communications.