Hodgkins lymphoma or Hodgkins disease has the distinction of being the first cancer to be cured by chemotherapy or by radiotherapy.
Hodgkins lymphoma is a cancer that primarily affects the lymphatic tissues, and weakens the immune system of the body, making it more prone to infections.Lymphomas
The cancer was called 'Hodgkins Disease' until the year 2001, when WHO Classification for Lymphomas was published and the term 'Hodgkins Lymphoma' was preferred over 'Hodgkins Disease'.
The lymphatic tissues are found in the lymph nodes and other related organs including the spleen, the bone marrow and the thymus, which together make up the immune and the blood- cell producing systems.
The lymph nodes, are small, bean-shaped organs, found beneath the skin in the neck, underarm, and the groin. These nodes are interconnected by the lymph vessels, which contain a watery fluid called the lymph. The lymphocytes, which fight infections, are produced and stored in the lymph node.
are of two types: Hodgkins
and non-Hodgkins lymphoma
.Hodgkins lymphoma (HL)
can occur in both children and adults. The treatment for both the groups vary. Hodgkin lymphoma may also occur in patients who have Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). This group has to undergo a different type of treatment.
Hodgkins Lymphoma begins when a newly developed B-lymphocyte changes, becomes cancerous and goes on to multiply several folds to form tumors or lymphomas."Malignant lymphomas represent clonal malignancies in which the majority of cells are frozen at a single stage of normal lymphocyte differentiation" Source: Norman Levy, MD - Lecture
Hodgkins lymphoma can be initiated anywhere in the lymphatic tissues but most often, in the upper part of the body, particularly in the neck, under the arms or the chest
. It involves the spreading of the disease from one group of lymph node to the other and can go on to spread throughout the body. Symptoms appear very gradually, as the disease progresses.
Advances in cancer research in the last few decades has now resulted in cure at the early stages of Hodgkins lymphoma by radiation and in the later stages by combination therapy (radiation with chemotherapy). In fact Hodgkins Lymphoma is the first such cancer that has this distinction of procuring a cure.
Thomas Hodgkin, a British Physician, first described the condition as far back as 1832 and hence was named after him.