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Hodgkin Lymphoma

Integrative Treatment Options for All Stages of Hodgkin Lymphoma

Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment Program

The term lymphoma is a combination of the words "lymph," which represents the lymphatic system, and "oma,” which is a suffix denoting tumor or swelling. So, lymphoma basically means “cancer of the lymphatic system.” There are several types of lymphomas defined by how they affect the lymphatic system and the associated cells. However, all lymphomas are categorized into two main groups: non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Hodgkin lymphoma.

What Is Hodgkin Lymphoma?

Hodgkin lymphoma is a malignancy that starts in the cells of the lymphatic system, a complex network of highly specialized organs: lymph nodes, thymus, spleen, and bone marrow. These organs are interconnected via lymph vessels filled with a communications medium known as the lymph fluid.

The lymphatic system is responsible for regulating intercellular fluid levels and removing cellular waste. More importantly, the lymphatic system helps the body fight disease and foreign invaders by synthesizing, housing, activating, and transporting immune cells. These immune cells are lymphocytes—T-cells, B-cells, and macrophages.

Hodgkin lymphoma manifests as a blood-cell tumor caused by the rapid and uncontrolled multiplication of abnormal B-cell lymphocytes. The cancer usually forms in one or more lymph nodes and rarely spreads outside the lymphatic system. The cancerous B-cells in Hodgkin lymphoma are called Reed-Sternberg cells when multinucleated or Hodgkin cells when mononucleated.

How Common Is Hodgkin Lymphoma?

Hodgkin lymphoma is not a very common disease in the U.S. The annual rate of new cases is about three per 100,000 adults, and only 0.2 percent of Americans will ever be diagnosed with the disease. Curiously, Hodgkin lymphoma is more prevalent in men. But the reason for this gender bias is not well understood.

The cancer is also highly treatable, with a favorable five-year relative survival rate of nearly 90%.

How Many Types of Hodgkin Lymphoma Are There?

There are several types of Hodgkin lymphoma. It’s important to distinguish the various types of the disease because each cancer is treated differently. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies Hodgkin lymphoma into two major categories: classical Hodgkin lymphoma and nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma.

Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma (cHL)

This type of cancer occurs in 90% of all Hodgkin lymphoma cases. The presence of both Reed-Sternberg cells and Hodgkin cells characterizes it. Classical Hodgkin lymphoma is further divided into four subtypes:

  • Nodular sclerosis

This is the most common type of cHL in developed countries. It accounts for 70% of all classical Hodgkin lymphoma cases in the U.S. The disease usually starts in the lymph nodes around the neck and peaks at the age of 15-34 years.

  • Mixed cellularity

This subtype occurs in about a quarter of all cHL cases. Although the median age at diagnosis is 38 years, it's particularly prevalent in children, older adults, and people with HIV. It’s also closely associated with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).

  • Lymphocyte-rich

Lymphocyte-rich cHL makes up 5% of all classical Hodgkin lymphoma cases. It mainly affects individuals in the 30 to 50-year age group. The cancer typically starts in the peripheral lymph nodes.

  • Lymphocyte-depleted

This is the rarest type of lymphoma, occurring in less than 1% of cHL cases, though it’s relatively more aggressive than other cHLs. It often affects lymph nodes around the neck and abdomen and may involve other organs. Lymphocyte-depleted cHL is commonly found in older adults and HIV patients.

Nodular Lymphocyte-Predominant Hodgkin Lymphoma (NLPHL)

This is a rare form of lymphoma characterized by abnormally large lymphocytic and histiocytic cells, sometimes called “popcorn cells.” These are variants of Reed-Sternberg cells that cause slow-growing tumors in the lymph nodes around the neck and under the arms.

Who’s at Risk of Hodgkin Lymphoma?

The exact cause of Hodgkin lymphoma remains a mystery. But researchers have identified several factors linked to increased incidence of the disease. Here are the common risk factors for Hodgkin lymphoma:

  • Age – Hodgkin lymphoma has a bimodal age distribution, peaking in a younger age group of 15 to 34 years and later in life at 55+ years.
  • HIV and EBV infections – The Epstein-Barr virus is believed to promote Hodgkin tumor growth through anti-apoptotic signaling. Meanwhile, people living with HIV are 5 to 26 times more like to get Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Family history of lymphoma – Like most cancers, people from a family with a history of lymphoma are more likely to get the disease. Also, those who have had lymphoma before are at higher risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Weakened immune system – Hodgkin lymphoma is essentially an immune system disease, meaning that people with compromised immunity are at greater risk of the disease, as is the case with HIV infections.
  • Common carcinogens – Excessive or prolonged exposure to known carcinogens such as ionizing radiation, benzene, and Agent Orange (dioxin) can also cause Hodgkin lymphoma.

What Are the Symptoms of Hodgkin Lymphoma?

Most Hodgkin lymphoma patients present with one or more enlarged lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy), which are usually painless. In most cases, the lymph nodes around the neck, armpits, chest, groin, or lower abdomen appear or feel swollen to the touch. Other symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma include:

  • Occasional pain in various lymph nodes, particularly after consuming alcohol
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Itchy skin
  • Abdominal discomfort or pain due to enlarged spleen and/or liver (hepatosplenomegaly)
  • Poor appetite is sometimes accompanied by early satiety

The patient may also experience B symptoms—night sweats, fever, and over 10% weight loss within six months. B symptoms are useful for lymphoma staging and prognosis.

Hodgkin vs. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: What's the Difference?

The key difference between the two lymphomas is that Hodgkin lymphoma involves the Reed-Sternberg cells, while non-Hodgkin lymphoma does not. Also, these cancers develop, impact the patient, and respond to various treatments differently. The table below summarizes the main distinguishing factors between Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin lymphoma:

How Is Hodgkin Lymphoma Diagnosed?

During a diagnostic evaluation, the doctor conducts a physical exam and studies the patient’s medical history. The doctor will then request a biopsy if they suspect the disease. In this case, a biopsy is a tissue sample taken from an affected lymph node. Once acquired, the biopsy is examined for hints or biomarkers of Reed-Sternberg cells.

Additional tests such as blood count, heart evaluation, lung function test, bone marrow aspiration/biopsy, and imaging test may be carried out to determine the disease's extent and help prepare a treatment plan.

After diagnosis, the case is assigned one of four stages depending on how far the cancer has spread within or outside the lymphatic system.

Brio-Medical’s Holistic Treatments for Hodgkin Lymphoma

Most patients with Hodgkin lymphoma are treated using chemotherapy medications and radiotherapy. The treatment options and the aggressiveness of medication largely depend on the patient’s response, the type of lymphoma, and the stage of the disease. However, there’s a big problem with these mainstream cancer treatments—they take a heavy toll on the patient, extending the recovery period or, even worse, triggering other adverse health conditions.

Brio-Medical solves this problem with holistic treatments that target cancer while sparing healthy cells. Our natural cancer remedies reinvigorate healthy cells and empower them to fight the disease.

Remember, Hodgkin lymphoma is a disease of the immune system. So, one of the best things you can do as a patient is to strengthen your immunity. We have a host of holistic therapies proven to do just that; they include:

These and many other natural cancer remedies are excellent complementary treatments for Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers. And besides stimulating the immune system to fight cancer, these treatments energize the body, eliminate harmful toxins, and soothe the mind and soul.

Become our patient today and try natural cancer treatment at its best.


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