Hodgkin's disease is a rare disease belonging to the category of lymphomas
, hence its other name of Hodgkin's lymphoma
. Lymphomas are diseases characterized by the proliferation of lymphoid cells, but unlike leukemia
, this increase does not occur in the bone marrow, but rather after the release of these cells into circulation, usually in the lymph. One type of cell is characteristic of Hodgkin's lymphoma: it is called the Reed-Sternberg cell, abnormally present and due to the modification of lymphocytes. In the absence of treatment, evolution is fatal, but when proper treatment is administered, it is considered to be one of the cancers with the highest cure rates.
Hodgkin's disease will cause:
- an increase in the size of lymph nodes: or lymphadenopathy;
- These nodes are typically painless, firm, and mobile upon palpation;
- an increase in the size of the spleen, or splenomegaly;
- an increase in the size of the liver, or hepatomegaly;
- skin lesions causing itching ...
Given the presence of these signs, an ultrasound or a CT scan are frequently made to measure the extent of invasion by viewing other lymph nodes and organs that may be affected. Then a biopsy of a node is taken to study the cell component. A technique called immunophenotyping is also possible to characterize precisely the type of lymphoma. Before the implementation of treatment, blood and bone marrow exams are often necessary.
Treatment consists of radiotherapy, chemotherapy or a combination of both techniques. Treatment modalities depend on the stage of the disease, the number of affected organs and their location. Typically, radiation therapy is used only in forms that are not extensive, and chemotherapy alone is used in advanced forms. As for intermediate stages, it is the combination of the two that will prevail. These treatments have quite severe side effects and are administered under close supervision.
Original article published by
. Translated by Jeff