Staging of Hodgkin lymphoma

The stage of a cancer describes where the cancer is, its size and whether it has spread from where it started. This information helps doctors decide on the most appropriate treatment for you. The following is the most commonly used staging system for Hodgkin lymphoma:

  • 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 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.

B symptoms

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, the letter A is used, for example stage 1A. If you have one or more of these symptoms, the letter B is used, for example stage 1B.

Back to Understanding your diagnosis

Just been diagnosed

Just been diagnosed with cancer? We're here for you every step of the way. There are many ways we can help.