Hodgkin’s lymphoma is characterized by the orderly spread of disease from one lymph node group to another and by the development of systemic symptoms with advanced disease. When Hodgkins cells are examined microscopically, multinucleated Reed–Sternberg cells (RS cells) are the characteristic histopathologic finding.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma may be treated with radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, with the choice of treatment depending on the age and sex of the patient and the stage, bulk, and histological subtype of the disease. The disease occurrence shows two peaks: the first in young adulthood (age 15–35) and the second in those over 55 years old.
The overall 5-year relative survival for 2001-2007 from 17 SEER geographic areas was 83.9%. Since many patients are young, they often live 40 years or more after treatment. However, few studies follow patients as long as 25 years, and those studies are of older treatments with more life-threatening adverse effects. There is insufficient data available about the long-term outcomes of newer, less-toxic regimens and ones which limit radiation exposure. Radiation treatments, and some chemotherapy drugs, pose a risk of causing potentially fatal secondary cancers, heart disease, and lung disease 40 or more years later. Modern treatments greatly minimize the chances of these late effects.