Hodgkin's disease — also known as Hodgkin's lymphoma — is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of your immune system. In Hodgkin's disease, cells in the lymphatic system grow abnormally and may spread beyond the lymphatic system. As Hodgkin's disease progresses, it compromises your body's ability to fight infection. Hodgkin's disease is one of two common types of cancers of the lymphatic system. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, the other type, is far more common. Hodgkin's disease is named after the British physician Thomas Hodgkin, who first described the disease in 1832 and noted characteristics that distinguish it from other lymphomas.
Advances in diagnosis, staging and treatment of Hodgkin's disease have helped to make this once uniformly fatal disease highly treatable with the potential for full recovery.
Many initial signs and symptoms may be similar to those of the flu, such as fever, fatigue and night sweats. Eventually, tumors develop. Hodgkin's disease symptoms may include:
- Painless swelling of lymph nodes in your neck, armpits or groin
- Persistent fatigue
- Fever and chills
- Night sweats
- Unexplained weight loss — as much as 10 percent or more of your body weight