The Other Lymphoma: Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Last week, I wrote about the type of cancer I was diagnosed with – non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. But, as you may have suspected, there’s another type of lymphoma – Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Although Hodgkin’s lymphoma is less common than non-Hodgkin’s, nearly 10,000 Americans will be diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma this year. When detected early, the 5-year survival rate for Hodgkin’s lymphoma is above 90%. For this reason, it’s very important to know what Hodgkin’s lymphoma is, including how it’s similar to and different from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, so that if you develop Hodgkin’s lymphoma in your lifetime, you can catch it early.


Similarities Between Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s

Naturally, Hodgkin’s lymphoma has a lot in common with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Particularly, both types of lymphoma affect the same system, and have similar symptoms and names. Here’s some more information on these similarities:

  • The system. Both non-Hodgkin’s and Hodgkin’s lymphoma impact the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a part of the immune system, which helps the body fight against illness.   
  • The symptoms. Individuals with both non-Hodgkin’s and Hodgkin’s lymphoma experience similar symptoms including swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, fever, and unexplained weight loss. 
  • The name. Both non-Hodgkin’s and Hodgkin’s lymphoma are named after Dr. Thomas Hodgkin, a British pathologist who first described the symptoms common to both types of lymphoma in 1832. The condition was named Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

Differences Between Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s

Decades after Hodgkin’s lymphoma was first named, it was determined that the condition could actually be divided into two distinct conditions. The new condition would be named non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Here are some key differences between the two conditions: 

  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma is designated by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells. Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma can be differentiated under a microscope. If a specific type of large, abnormal cell called Reed-Sternberg cells are present in the lymph fluid, it is Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma is less common than non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  Non-Hodgkin’s is the 7thmost common cancer in the U.S., with over 70,000 diagnoses a year. Hodgkin’s, on the other hand, only makes up about 10,000 new cancer diagnoses each year.  
  • The median age of people diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma is lower than that of non-Hodgkin’s. While non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma primarily affects people over 60, Hodgkin’s lymphoma is common in both younger and older individuals. Specifically, Hodgkin’s lymphoma is common in people aged 15-24 years, as well as in people over 60 years of age. 
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma typically originates in the upper body. While non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma commonly arises in lymph nodes all over the body, Hodgkin’s lymphoma typically starts in the neck, chest, or armpits. 

For more information on the other lymphoma, check out my blog on non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma here. Other great sources for information on lymphoma can be found at  

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