Lymphoma - Hodgkin

Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system - part of the body's immune system.

There are two main types of lymphoma: Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Only about 1 in 5 of all lymphomas diagnosed (20%) are Hodgkin lymphoma.

Around 1,700 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in the UK every year.

Symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma

The first symptom of Hodgkin lymphoma is usually a swelling in the neck, armpit or groin. The swellings are usually painless, but some people may find that they ache.

Other symptoms may include any of the following:

  • drenching and/or frequent sweats, especially at night
  • unexplained high temperatures
  • weight loss
  • tiredness
  • a cough or breathlessness
  • a persistent itch all over the body.

The most common symptoms are high temperatures, drenching night sweats and weight loss. These are called B symptoms. Other symptoms will depend on where in the body the enlarged lymph nodes are.

A few people with Hodgkin lymphoma have abnormal cells in their bone marrow when they are diagnosed. This can lower the number of healthy blood cells in the blood, which can cause the following symptoms:

  • breathlessness and tiredness
  • an increased risk of infection
  • excessive bleeding, such as nosebleeds, very heavy periods in women, or tiny spots of blood under the skin.

Very rarely, people with Hodgkin lymphoma may have pain in the affected lymph node when drinking alcohol.

If you have any of the above symptoms, it's important to have them checked by your GP. But remember, they are common to many other conditions and most people with these symptoms will not have Hodgkin lymphoma.

*Information provided by Macmillan cancer support

At The Christie, the lymphoma team treat Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Last updated: March 2023