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Hodgkin Disease (HD), also known as Hodgkin lymphoma, is a cancer starts in the lymphatic system. HD originates in white blood cells and breaks the protection against germs and infections. The two main types are: Classic Hodgkin disease (which has four subtypes) and Nodular Lymphocyte Predominant Hodgkin Disease (NLPHD). The Classic HD accounts for about 95 percent of all cases of Hodgkin disease in developed countries.1

In the European Union, the estimated annual incidence of Hodgkin disease is 2.3 per 100,000 populations, and the annual mortality rate is 0.4 cases per 100,000.2 The disease affects slightly more men than women.2 The annual incidence of classic Hodgkin disease in developed countries is approximately 1 per 40,000.3 For NLPHD, the annual incidence is approximately 1 per 830,000.4

The most common first symptom of HD is swelling, enlarged and no-painful lymph nodes at neck, armpit and groin, and spread through lymph vessels in the whole body with fatigue, weight loss, night sweats and fevers, etc. Rarely, and late in the disease, it can invade the bloodstream and spread to other parts of the body, including the liver, lungs, and/or bone marrow.

HD can occur in both children and adults.1 It is most common in early adulthood (especially in 20s), and in late adulthood (after 55 years old) for classical HD.1 NLPHD usually occurs before age 40, and affects three times as many men as women.4 The Reed-Sternberg cell (an abnormal B lymphocyte which is much larger than normal lymphocytes) can be found in classical HD patients’ blood and biopsy is needed for the final diagnose and typing.1

The main treatments for Hodgkin lymphoma are chemotherapy alone, or chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy. Immunotherapy and high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplants may be used for certain patients, especially if other treatments haven’t worked.1

1 ACS Detailed Guide: Hodgkin disease. Atlanta, Georgia, USA: American Cancer Society; 2016. Available at: Accessed 12 May 2022.
2 Eichenauer DA, Engera A, Andre M, et al. Hodgkin lymphoma: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up. Annals of Oncology. 2018; iv19–iv29
3 Classic Hodgkin lymphoma. Paris, France: Orphanet; 2012. Available at: Accessed 12
May 2022.
4 Nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin lymphoma. Paris, France: Orphanet; 2012. Available at: Accessed 12 May 2022.