Hodgkin lymphoma affects part of your immune system called the lymphatic system (a network of nodes and vessels that removes waste from the body and fights infection). It occurs when white blood cells (lymphocytes) in the lymphatic system become damaged. This can make the lymphocytes cancerous, where they grow and multiply abnormally.
Hodgkin lymphoma is also known as Hodgkin disease.
The first noticeable symptom is often a painless swelling in one or more lymph nodes, usually in the neck, armpit or groin.
Other symptoms may include:
- unexplained tiredness
- night sweats or fever
- unexplained appetite or weight loss
- trouble getting over infections
- pain in the chest or stomach area
- unexplained, persistent cough or shortness of breath
- swollen tummy
- bruising or bleeding easily
- a rash or itching
Hodgkin lymphoma is commonly diagnosed by biopsy, where a sample of the affected lymph tissue is tested.
The treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma is radiotherapy, chemotherapy or both.
The chances of a full recovery after treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma are high.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, talking to someone can help. Support is available by calling the Cancer Council helpline on 13 11 20.
Last reviewed: January 2019