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What is Hodgkins Lymphoma?

Partial illustration of the lymphatic system

Hodgkin's lymphoma, also known as Hodgkin’s disease, is a type of cancer in the lymphatic system. A rare disease, Hodgkin's lymphoma causes some cells in the lymphatic system to abnormally reproduce, eventually causing tumors to grow and making the body less able to fight infection.

Hodgkin's lymphoma is different from other lymphomas. In most lymphomas, cancer cells make up most of a tumor. In Hodgkin's lymphoma, the cancer cells (usually special cells called Reed-Sternberg cells) only make up a small part of the cells in a cancerous lymph node. The rest of the cells are normal immune cells.

Hodgkin's lymphoma is actually a group of similar diseases that doctors often classify into two main types:

Classic Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Most Hodgkin's lymphomas are the classical type that is broken down into four subtypes:

Nodular Lymphocyte Predominant Hodgkins Lymphoma

Nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin's lymphoma is a rare type. It is marked by the presence of a type of cell called a popcorn cell, which is different from the typical Reed-Sternberg cell found in classical Hodgkin's lymphoma. This type of Hodgkin's lymphoma may change into diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

Prognosis

Hodgkin's lymphoma can usually be cured if found and treated early.

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