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Hodgkin's lymphoma

Page last reviewed: 13/07/2011

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is made up of a series of vessels and glands, known as lymph nodes. These are spread throughout your body, much like your blood vessels.

Hodgkin's lymphoma is one of the rarer types of lymphoma (the most common type is non-Hodgkin's lymphoma). It is named after the doctor who first described the condition in the 19th century.

Hodgkin's lymphoma is characterised by the prescence of a distinctive abnormal cell known as a Reed-Sternberg cell. 

According to the National Cancer Registry of Ireland, for the years 2007-2009 an average of 113 cases of Hodgkin's Lymphoma were diagnosed.

Who is affected

Hodgkin's lymphoma mostly affects young adults aged between 15 and 35 and adults over the age of 50. More men than women are affected.


Hodgkin's lymphoma is a relatively aggressive cancer and can quickly spread through the body. Despite this, it is also one of the most easily treated types of cancer.

Almost all young people with Hodgkin's lymphoma will be fully cured. For older people over the age of 50, the cure rate is around 75-80%.


What is cancer?

The body is made up of millions of different types of cells. Cancer happens when some of the cells multiply in an abnormal way. When cancer affects organs and solid tissues, it causes a growth called a tumour to form. Cancer can occur in any part of the body where the cells multiply abnormally.

Content provided by NHS Choices www.nhs.uk and adapted for Ireland by the Health A-Z.

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