What is Hodgkin lymphoma?

Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of cancer in the lymphatic system. Hodgkin lymphoma is the most common cancer in people ages 15 to 19, and also one of the most treatable.


Some common symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma can include:

  • swelling of lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, groin or chest
  • difficulty breathing due to enlarged lymph nodes in the chest
  • cough
  • fatigue
  • persistent fever
  • night sweats
  • weight loss
  • itchy skin


To diagnose Hodgkin lymphoma, your child’s doctor will do a complete physical examination and medical history. He or she may also order one or more of the following tests:

  • blood tests
  • chest x-ray
  • computerized tomography (CT or CAT scan)
  • biopsy
  • bone marrow biopsy and aspiration


Treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma can vary depending on the stage of the tumor and other factors. Treatment options may include one or more of the following:

  • Chemotherapy is a drug treatment to stop cancer cells from growing.
  • Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells.
  • Surgery may be used to treat a rare type of Hodgkin lymphoma, called nodular lymphocyte predominant
  • Stem cell transplant may be used if lymphoma progresses despite initial treatment or when it relapses.

Learn more about Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplant services at Boston Children’s Health Physicians.

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