Hodgkin’s disease does not look different from lymphoma. Cells in one of the lymph glands are uncontrollably multiplying and spreading to other lymph glands. The important difference is that cells in Hodgkin’s disease are not as malignant as in lymphoma, and the chances of curing are much higher.
The main symptoms are permanently swollen glands, usually in the throat. Skin itching can occur, as well as excessive gingivitis after taking alcohol.
Hodgkin’s disease is rare. It occurs only in one out of 10,000 people and affects mostly persons between the ages of 20 and 40. It occurs three times more in men than in women.
If treated in the initial stage, the cure rate is high. Blood sample analysis and gland biopsy will allow diagnosis. Other hospital examinations, such as x-rays of the chest and lymphangiogram, are needed to determine the extent of the disease.
Radiotherapy is used in the initial stage of the disease and in such cases it is possible to cure 90% of the patients.
If the disease is discovered in an advanced stage, drug therapy is used, sometimes combined with radiation therapy. Approximately 20% of patients with Hodgkin’s disease at an advanced stage are cured with intensive drug therapy.
If there are no signs of illness after five years, it is almost certain that the patient is cured. Patients with advanced Hodgkin’s disease who are not cured by therapy will not respond to medication after a certain period of time, they will eventually lose any resistance to infection, and one of them will cause death.