Hodgkin Lymphoma is a kind of blood cancer that develops in the lymphatic system, which enables the healthy white blood cells (lymphocytes) to grow hysterically that can form a tumor and spread beyond the system to other parts of the body. The defect commonly affects areas such as lymph nodes, lungs, groin, under the arm, pelvis or in the abdomen. If it becomes severe, it can spread to the liver, bone marrow, spleen or to the bone, which is not that usual.
What are the causes of Hodgkin lymphoma?
Hodgkin lymphoma or Hodgkin’s disease is a rare type of cancer, which can be caused by various reasons. The exact cause of the defect is still unknown, but researchers are trying hard to pinpoint the origin. However, there are certain things that may be responsible for causing it. These are:
- Age plays a major role in causing Hodgkin lymphoma, where people are likely to get affected between 70-79.
- People who have earlier been diagnosed with non Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) have high chances of developing the defect.
- People with weak immune system can develop Hodgkin lymphoma.
- People diagnosed with HIV or AIDS have 11 times higher risk of developing the disease that the usual population.
- Anyone having a family history of Hodgkin’s Disease (HD), NHD or chronic lymphocytic leukemia can diagnose with Hodgkin lymphoma as well.
Other conditions include Epstein Barr virus, breastfeeding, hair dye, overweight, common infections, smoking and alcohol consumption.
Treatment of Hodgkin Lymphoma
Treating Hodgkin lymphoma depends on the age, health condition and severity of the cancer spread. The treatment is usually successful where most of the people get cured. There are several ways to treat HD. Some require only one type while others need a combination of these treatments. The procedures are as follows:
- Radiation therapy: It is one of the most common ways to treat cancer performed by oncologist where high energy X-rays are used to destroy the uncontrollable cells. The rays are targeted to the areas where the tumor has spread and destroys the cells, which also reduces the risk of killing healthy tissues.
- Chemotherapy: This treatment involves using anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells, circulating in the bloodstream. The procedure usually involves a drip of medications into a vein, which travels to your entire affected body through the bloodstream and destroys the unhealthy cells and stop them from multiplying. The process usually takes 1-3 days and drugs used vary depending on the stage of cancer. Sometimes, it is also used as a combination with radiotherapy to treat the disease.
- Surgery may also be used, which is rare in treating HD where the removal of a lymph node is done for testing (biopsy) the Hodgkin lymphoma cells.
- Steroids are naturally made body substance, which can also be made artificially and employed as drugs to cure HD. It has a higher success rate when combined with chemotherapy where steroid injections are given at the time of the therapy.
- Other procedures include stem cell and bone marrow transplant and biological therapy.
Certain treatments have distinct side effects in treating Hodgkin lymphoma, but these complications are not that severe for eg:
- Reddening of skin
- Hair loss
- Difficulty sleeping
- Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD)
- Mouth sores
Post operative care
Follow up care for HD include
- Regular check ups where the doctor will examine you and may take blood for test. It may continue for many years.
- CT Scans, PET-CT Scans or X-rays may be done at regular intervals.
- You can take support and counseling sessions to reduce the stress, if you are feeling worried.
- Watch for symptoms that depicts a comeback of the cancer and consult your doctor at once.