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Hodgkin lymphoma

Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is a malignant condition (cancer) affecting a type of white blood cells called lymphocytes. Hodgkin lymphoma was formerly known as Hodgkin's disease. Unlike leukaemia, in lymphoma, the cancer cells are found in organs and tissues of the lymphatic system although rarely it can involve the bone marrow too.

The lymphatic system is a network of fine vessels, glands and channels which occur throughout the body. It also conveys nutrients and cells, and is responsible for draining fluid and waste products away from tissues, and into the blood stream to be processed. The lymphatic system is an important part of the immune system and is made up of lymph nodes and vessels and of collections of lymphocytes in other tissues.

Thomas Hodgkin was a British doctor who first described the disease now known as lymphoma. Originally, all lymphomas were called Hodgkin’s disease; now the term Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is only used for one type of lymphoma. In Hodgkin lymphoma, a particular type of abnormal B cell called a Reed-Sternberg cell can be seen in samples of tissue. All other types of lymphoma are known as non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

  • Published: Mar 2017
  • Next planned review: Mar 2019