Hodgkin Lymphoma

What is lymphoma?

Lymphoma is cancer that begins in the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system and is important for helping drain fluids and waste from the body. The lymphatic system also produces white blood cells that help protect against infection. There are two primary types of lymphoma: Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin, named after a 19th-century British doctor who identified people who had cancer involving the lymph nodes.

Hodgkin lymphoma, formerly known as Hodgkin’s disease, involves damage to the DNA of white blood cells (called lymphocytes), which causes the cells to multiply and spread to other tissues throughout the body. The condition is distinct from other types of lymphoma because of the presence of a particular type of cell, called Reed-Sternberg cells.

Though not all cases of Hodgkin lymphoma have a clear cause, there is some connection between having had certain viruses, such as the Epstein-Barr virus (which also causes mononucleosis) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma

The most obvious sign of the disease is often a swollen lymph node, visible in the neck and tender to the touch. You may also experience:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever and chills
  • Itching all over the body
  • Loss of appetite
  • Night sweats

Diagnosis and testing of lymphoma

If you are having symptoms that concern you, be sure to visit your doctor. The doctor will perform a complete physical exam and review of your medical history. He or she may also recommend testing, such as a blood test, bone marrow biopsy, CT scan, complete blood count (CBC) and PET scan.


Treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma usually involves a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, but depends on whether and how much the cancer has spread.

Biopsy Procedures

While certain tests such as X-rays and CT scans can show abnormalities in the body, the only way to determine (or rule out) disease is by getting a biopsy.


Chemotherapy is used to fight almost every type of cancer and is part of the comprehensive treatment plan created by our oncologists.

Radiation Therapy

Specialists at Main Line Health offer a variety of radiation therapies to help treat cancerous tumors while preserving healthy tissue.


Cancer Care

From diagnosis and throughout treatment, Main Line Health cancer specialists (oncologists) provide compassionate care for you and your loved ones through all stages of cancer treatment.

Hematology and Blood Disorders

Whether you are fighting cancer or managing a blood disorder, the hematologists and oncologists at Main Line Health offer the comprehensive care you need.