Symptoms and causes

What is it?

Lymph gland cells or lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell. They play an important role in the fight against pathogens and in the production of antibodies.

When the lymphocytes develop abnormally and start to divide uncontrollably, we refer to this as ‘lymph gland cancer’ or ‘lymphoma’.

There are various types of lymphomas. In 1832, the English physician Thomas Hodgkin described an abnormal cell growth of abnormal lymph gland cells: the Hodgkin lymphoma. Later, other types of lymph gland cancer were discovered. These types are clearly different from the form Hodgkin had described. These types are called non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Approximately 15% of malignant lymphomas are Hodgkin lymphomas. Approximately 85% are non-Hodgkin lymphomas.

Hodgkin lymphoma

Hodgkin’s disease, or Hodgkin lymphoma, is a lymph-proliferative condition that belongs to the group of malignant lymphomas.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a lymph-proliferative condition that belongs to the group of malignant lymphomas.

Symptoms

One of the first symptoms is often swelling of one of the lymph nodes in the neck, underarm or groin. The swelling does not tend to be painful. A swelling of the lymph nodes can also be caused by something else - by an infection, for example.

Hodgkin’s disease can have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • fluctuating fever, followed by a normal temperature
  • weight loss, or loss of appetite
  • fatigue for no specific reason
  • night sweats
  • itching over the entire body

Diagnosis and treatment

Treatment

Hodgkin lymphoma

Treatment depends on multiple factors, including prognostic factors, how extensive the lymphoma is, age and general condition. Treatment usually consists of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Treatment depends on multiple factors, including prognostic factors, how extensive the lymphoma is, age and general condition. Treatment usually consists of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy and/or immunotherapy.

Treatment centres and specialisations

Integrated Cancer Centre in Ghent

Latest publication date: 21/01/2021