Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a rare cancer of the lymphatic system that affects the B-lymphocytes and leaves a patient susceptible to infection.
Estimates suggest that around 1 in 25,000 people are affected by this cancer every year and the condition accounts for just under 1% of all cancers that occur worldwide.
Although Hodgkin’s lymphoma can affect people of any age, it generally develops among two age groups in particular, which are those aged between 15 and 35 years and those aged over 55 years. In the younger age group, the nodular sclerosis subtype is more common, while people in the older age group are more commonly affected by the mixed cellularity subtype. However, the age groups in which the incidence of certain Hodgkin’s lymphoma subtypes peak may differ slightly across different nationalities.
The nodular sclerosis subtype is more common among females than males but otherwise, Hodgkin’s lymphoma is more common among males. The cancer is rare among those under 5 years of age.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma is more common among people with HIV infection, compared with the general population. In contrast to what is observed for the other forms of lymphoma associated with HIV, Hodgkin’s lymphoma mostly develops among patients with HIV who have an increased CD4 T-cell count.
According to the American Cancer Society, estimates for the United States suggest that in 2014, around 9,190 new cases of Hodgkin’s lymphoma will be diagnosed, involving 4,120 females and 5,070 males. Around 1,180 individuals are expected to die from the condition.
Despite being an aggressive form of cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma is one of the most curable cancers, with the 1-year survival rate in the range of 90% to 95%. The 5- and 10-year respective survival rates are estimated to be around 85% and 80% .
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc