Hodgkin's lymphoma, formerly known as Hodgkin's disease, is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of your immune system. Hodgkin lymphoma may be treated with radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, with the choice of treatment depending on the age and sex of the patient and the stage, bulk, and histological subtype of the disease. The overall five-year survival rate in the United States for 2004 to 2010 is 85%.
Defining Hodgkin's Disease
Hodgkin's Lymphoma is also known as Hodgkin's Disease, and is a malignancy starting in the lymphatic tissues. It might then move out into other parts of the body such as the lungs, testes, or bone marrow.
Thomas Hodgkin (1798-1866) was an English Scholar who became famous for his research on the disease, and it was named for him. The disease was first written about in 1666 by Malpighi, but it was Thomas Hodgkin's article in 1832 titled, 'On Some Morbid Appearances of the Absorbent Glands and Spleen,' where cases of Hodgkins Lymphoma became documented clearly.
Other forms of lymphomas are classified as, 'Non-Hodgkin's,' and happen more often than Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
Hodgkin's Lymphoma is unique because of the presence of cells that are referred to as, 'Reed-Sternberg,'cells in the area of malignancy. These cells, along with other forms of them, are specific to Hodgkin's Disease and appear different under a microscope from other non-Hodgkin's lymphomas and other cancer cells. Reed-Sternberg cells are something that doctors believe to be a kind of B-lymphocyte malignancy; normal B-lymphocytes are the form of cells that human antibodies use to fight off infections.
There is a virus known as the, 'Epstein-Barr (EBV),' virus that seems to be a factor in around 40 or 50% of people with Hodgkin's Disease.
In other studies done recently results have shown that Interleukin-13, which is a natural cytokine in the body, might be rapidly produced by Hodkin's cells that are malignant.
Research has not revealed the cause of Hodgkin's Disease yet, and continues.
Lymphatic tissues are present in several parts of the human body and Hodgkin's Disease can begin nearly anywhere. Lymphatic tissues are enlarged by Hodgkin's malignancies, then create pressure upon important structures. Cancerous cells are able to spread around lymphatic tissues and into vessels that support them, and if upon getting into the blood vessels can spread to other sites in the human body such as the lungs or liver; although this is not as common.
There are several reasons that lymphatic tissue can become enlarged, and one of them is due to Hodgkin's Disease. More commonly it is because the body is fighting off some form of infection, and because of this Hodgkin's Disease is difficult to diagnose. Unfortunately, there is no non-cancerous, or benign form of Hodgkin's Disease. Hodkin's Disease does not pose a risk to others once a person has it.
CureHodgkins and the Violet Ribbon Campaign established the violet ribbon to represent Hodgkin's Disease (Hodgkin's Lymphoma). World Lymphoma Awareness Day (WLAD) is held on September 15 every year. WLAD was initiated in 2004 to raise public awareness of both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma in terms of symptom recognition, early diagnosis and treatment.
Hodgkin's lymphoma must be distinguished from non-cancerous causes of lymph node swelling (such as various infections) and from other types of cancer. Definitive diagnosis is by lymph node biopsy (usually excisional biopsy with microscopic examination). Blood tests are also performed to assess function of major organs and to assess safety for chemotherapy. Positron emission tomography (PET) is used to detect small deposits that do not show on CT scanning. PET scans are also useful in functional imaging (by using a radio-labeled glucose to image tissues of high metabolism). In some cases a Gallium Scan may be used instead of a PET scan.
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