Nodular sclerosis classical Hodgkin lymphoma is the most common sub-type of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, also formerly called Hodgkin’s disease. It is named after Thomas Hodgkin who first noticed abnormalities in the lymphatic system in 1832. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer that originates in white blood cells known as lymphocytes. The disease spreads in an orderly fashion from one lymph node to another. Lymph nodes are found throughout the body, but those most affected by lymphoma include the ones in the neck, shoulders, and chest.
Although the cause is unknown studies have shown that there may be a genetic link. Men are more likely than women to get nodular sclerosis classical Hodgkin lymphoma. What differentiates nodular sclerosis classical Hodgkin lymphoma from other types of lymphoma is that it has large tumor nodules with varying degrees of sclerosis. It is most commonly seen in people age 15 – 40 and then after age 55.
Signs & Symptoms of Nodular Sclerosis Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma
One of the first signs of nodular sclerosis classical Hodgkin lymphoma is enlarged lymph nodes. Since the patient and their physician can physically feel these nodes the chances for early detection are very good. Additional symptoms that people experience include itchy skin, night sweats, and unexplained weight loss. In approximately 30% of cases the patient’s spleen also becomes enlarged.
Diagnosis of Nodular Sclerosis Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma
If a physician suspects nodular sclerosis classical Hodgkin lymphoma they will need to perform a biopsy to be sure and to determine which classification of lymphoma they are dealing with. Nodular sclerosis classical Hodgkin lymphoma, like other types of lymphoma, is diagnosed and staged based on characteristics of the disease. As an example, stage 1 nodular sclerosis classical Hodgkin lymphoma is in the early stages and only affects one lymph node site. Stage 4 nodular sclerosis classical Hodgkin lymphoma affects several sites and has spread to organs. Doctors use a variety of tests including a physical, blood tests, x-rays, MRI, and PET (positron emission tomography) scans, to determine what stage the patient’s cancer has reached.
Treatment of Nodular Sclerosis Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma
Treatment for nodular sclerosis classical Hodgkin lymphoma depends on the age and sex of the patient. Doctors also must know the type and stage of the lymphoma to determine the best treatment plan. Radiation, chemotherapy, and sometimes a combination of both are the most common forms of treatment. More recently hematopoietic stem cell transplants have been successful. There are ongoing clinical trials attempting to find better treatment options for lymphoma.
Nodular Sclerosis Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma Prognosis
Due to very high rates of early detection people who have nodular sclerosis classical Hodgkin lymphoma have high recovery rates. Unfortunately there are cases of relapse and some studies indicate that treatment for nodular sclerosis classical Hodgkin lymphoma can lead to other health complications later in life. Overall, however, prognosis is very good.