Stages of Hodgkin lymphoma
The stage of a cancer is a term used to describe where the cancer is in the body, its size and whether or not it has spread beyond its original area. Knowing the extent of the cancer and its type helps doctors decide on the most appropriate treatment.
The most commonly used staging system for Hodgkin lymphoma is described here:
Stage 1 One group of lymph nodes is affected.
Stage 2 Two or more groups of lymph nodes are affected on the same side of the diaphragm (the sheet of muscle underneath the lungs).
Stage 3 Lymph nodes above and below the diaphragm are affected.
Stage 4 The lymphoma has spread outside the lymph nodes to organs such as the liver, bones or lungs.
Stages 1-2 are known as early-stage disease and stages 3-4 are known as advanced-stage disease. If the Hodgkin lymphoma comes back after initial treatment, this is called recurrent lymphoma.
As well as giving each stage a number, doctors use a letter - either A or B - to show whether or not you have certain symptoms. Your doctor will ask you if you’ve lost a significant amount of weight, have unexplained high temperatures or drenching night sweats. If you don’t have any of these symptoms, your illness will have the letter A next to the stage, (eg stage 1A). If you have one or more of these symptoms, it will have the letter B next to the stage (eg stage 1B)