As with most other cancers, early detection is the main key to the successful treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL). However, because there are currently no recommended screening tests, it’s important to pay attention to possible signs and symptoms associated with the disease.
The most common symptom of HL is the swelling of one or more lymph nodes. In most cases, these lumps are painless and can be found in areas such as on the side of the neck, in the armpit, or in the groin. Other symptoms can include:
Many times, these symptoms can be attributed to something other than lymphoma. Still, it’s a good idea to have them checked by a doctor, especially if they don’t go away or worsen.
If you have swollen lymph nodes or another symptom that suggests Hodgkin lymphoma, your doctor will try to find out what’s causing the problem. Your doctor will first ask about your personal and family medical history. He or she will also perform a physical examination to check for signs of the disease or anything else that seems unusual.
Tests that may be used to diagnose HL can include:
If diagnosed with HL, and chemotherapy is part of the treatment plan, your doctor may recommend additional tests since chemo can affect the heart and lungs. These tests might include:
After diagnostic tests are done, your doctor will take the time to go over the results with you. If the diagnosis is Hodgkin lymphoma, these results will also help your doctor determine your specific subtype of HL as well as the stage.
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, visit our guide for newly diagnosed lymphoma patients.