This section is for teenagers and young adults and is about a type of cancer called Hodgkin lymphoma.
We also have more info about:
If you’re looking for information about Hodgkin lymphoma in people of all ages, please see our general Hodgkin lymphoma section.
It’s important to remember that treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma has a very good success rate and most people are cured.
Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is one of the body’s natural defences against infection.
Lymphomas, like all cancers, are a disease of the body’s cells. Normally cells in our body divide and grow in a controlled way. But, sometimes cells keep dividing and grow out of control. This is how cancer develops.
In lymphomas white blood cells called lymphocytes become abnormal and grow out of control. These lymphocytes can build up in one part of the body and form a lump (tumour).
There are two main types of lymphoma:
Although these cancers are both lymphomas, they are different and need different treatments. Your doctors will do tests to find out which type you have.
One of the most common symptoms is having a painless lump in your neck, armpit or groin. The lump is caused by swollen lymph nodes.
Some people with Hodgkin lymphoma have other symptoms such as high temperatures, very heavy sweats (especially at night) and unexplained weight loss. Doctors call these symptoms ‘B symptoms’.
Lymphoma in lymph nodes in the chest area can sometimes cause a cough, difficulty swallowing or breathlessness.
If there are lymphoma cells in your bone marrow you may have fewer healthy blood cells than normal, which can cause:
heavy periods in girls.
Most swollen lymph nodes are caused by an infection not lymphoma. But if you have any of these symptoms or are worried that you may have Hodgkin lymphoma, go to see your family doctor (GP). They'll examine you and refer you to a hospital if they think you need to see a specialist doctor.
We don't know what causes Hodgkin lymphoma, but research is going on to try to find out. Remember though, it isn't anything that you’ve done.
Hodgkin lymphoma is one of the most common cancers in young people over the age of 10. About 1 in 6 of all cancers affecting young people between 15-24 is a Hodgkin lymphoma.
Hodgkin lymphoma isn’t infectious and can’t be passed on to other people or family members.
If you're worried about Hodgkin lymphoma
If you think you might have some of the symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma you should go to see your GP. They can talk to you about it and arrange any tests they think might be needed.