Hodgkin’s lymphoma accounts for only 10 percent of all lymphoma cases, with approximately 9,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States.
Lymphoma is a form of cancer that occurs when there is a malignant overgrowth in the lymph glands and/or the spleen.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma differs from Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by the type of cells causing the malignant growth and how the disease behaves. Hodgkin’s lymphoma tends to start in one lymph gland and slowly spread to others, while Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is often found in several lymph glands throughout the body.
The main symptoms of Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are similar—painless, swollen lymph glands usually in the neck or above the collar bone that won’t go away. About 20-25 percent of people with Hodgkin’s lymphoma experience symptoms of night sweats, fever and weight loss.
Although both forms of lymphoma present with similar symptoms, Hodgkin’s lymphoma is much more common in a younger age group, affecting people in their 20s.
Diagnostic, disease staging and treatment methods for Hodgkin’s lymphoma have come a long way over the years; and today, it is often a curable disease. By using individualized, combined modality therapies involving radiation and chemotherapy to treat Hodgkin’s patients, cure rates have increased while levels of toxicity and side effects have decreased.
Recently, a new targeted therapy, called brentuximab vedotin, has been approved to treat relapse patients and is showing high survival rates. Research efforts are now focused on studying the effectiveness of this drug used as a first line of treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients, rather than just an option for those who are resistant to other therapies or have relapsed after a bone marrow transplant.
The team of medical experts at Cone Health Cancer Center, and its satellite centers at Annie Penn Hospital and MedCenter High Point, are dedicated to providing exceptional care for individuals in the community with different forms of lymphoma. The Cancer Center is also actively involved in clinical trials studying advancements for the treatment of various forms of cancer.
Dr. James Granfortuna is an oncology and hematology specialist at Cone Health Cancer Center. Dr. Granfortuna is a 1980 graduate of Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine and his fellowship in Oncology and Hematology at State University of New York, Health Sciences Center.