Lymphocytes are white blood cells formed in the bone marrow that travel through the blood and lymph fluid. B-Cell lymphocytes make antibodies that fight infection from bacteria and viruses. T-cell lymphocytes have several purposes such as destroying germs or other foreign cells in the body. They can also help boost or slow down the activity of other immune cells.
In Hodgkin lymphoma, the abnormal cell that develops is typically from a B cell and is called a Reed-Sternberg cell.
The Reed-Sternberg cell divides to make copies of itself. The new cells divide again and again, making more and more abnormal cells. The abnormal cells don't die when they should. They don't protect the body from infections or other diseases. The buildup of extra cells often forms a mass of tissue called a growth or tumor.
Classic Hodgkin lymphoma is the most common type, accounting for about 95% of cases of Hodgkin lymphoma. There are four subtypes of classic Hodgkin lymphoma:
Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma accounts for about 5% of Hodgkin lymphoma cases and is more common in younger people.
Many times the symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma are passed off as something else for a while. That’s because the symptoms can be associated with other health conditions. Be sure you talk to your doctor about all of the symptoms. Getting a full picture of what you’re experiencing can give the doctor clues about their actual cause.
If initial tests show signs that Hodgkin Lymphoma could be the cause, additional testing will be done. Most often these additional tests are run by a hematologist. This is a type of doctor who specializes in blood disorders.
Staging is the process of finding if other areas of the body are affected by the disease. Lymphoma usually starts in a lymph node. It can spread to nearly any other part of the body.
Your doctor can describe your Hodgkin lymphoma treatment choices and the expected results. You and your doctor can work together to develop a treatment plan that meets your needs.