What is Hodgkin lymphoma?
Hodgkin lymphoma is named after Dr Thomas Hodgkin, who was the first person to describe the condition in 1832.
Hodgkin lymphoma develops when a lymphocyte (a type of white blood cell) becomes out of control. There are 2 types of lymphocyte, B lymphocytes (B cells) and T lymphocytes (T cells). Lymphocytes fight infection as part of the immune system. They are carried around the body in the lymphatic system and can collect in the lymph nodes (glands). Hodgkin lymphoma develops from a B cell.
In Hodgkin lymphoma, particular types of abnormal cells called Reed–Sternberg cells can be seen under a microscope. Non-Hodgkin lymphomas do not contain this type of cell.
Hodgkin lymphoma can occur at any age, although most people diagnosed are between the ages of 15 and 34 or over 60. We have more specific information about lymphoma in children and young people.
Nearly 2,000 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma each year in the UK. It affects slightly more males than it does females. Treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma has improved dramatically over the last 40 years. Nowadays most people are successfully treated.
There are 2 main types of Hodgkin lymphoma:
- classical Hodgkin lymphoma includes 4 types, all of which are treated in the same way:
- nodular sclerosis
- mixed cellularity
- nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma (NLPHL).
Most cases of Hodgkin lymphoma are classical Hodgkin lymphoma. Only around 1 in 20 cases is NLPHL.