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9

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

Hodgkin Lymphoma, Version 1.2015

1

Hodgkin lymphoma basics

How does Hodgkin lymphoma spread?

How does Hodgkin lymphoma

spread?

Cancer cells don’t behave like normal cells in three

key ways. First, the changes in genes cause cancer

cells to grow more quickly and live longer. Normally,

cells grow and then divide to form new cells when

needed. They also die when old or damaged as

shown in

Figure 1.3.

In contrast, cancer cells make

new cells that aren’t needed and don’t die quickly

when old or damaged. Over time, cancer cells form a

mass called the primary tumor.

The second way cancer cells differ from normal cells

is that they can grow into (invade) other tissues. If not

treated, the primary tumor can grow large and invade

other tissue. Cancer cells can replace so many normal

cells that organs don’t work like they should.

Third, unlike normal cells, cancer cells can break

away from the primary tumor and form new tumors.

This process is called metastasis. Hodgkin lymphoma

often spreads from one group of lymph nodes to the

next and so on. Over time, it will spread to tissue and

organs outside the lymphatic system.

There is good news about Hodgkin lymphoma. In the

past 30 years, its treatment has improved. Now, more

than 80 out of 100 people with Hodgkin lymphoma can

be cured of the cancer. More people survive Hodgkin

lymphoma than any other cancer.

Figure 1.3 Normal cell growth vs cancer cell growth

Normal cells increase in number when they are needed and die when old or damaged.

In contrast, cancer cells quickly make new cells and live longer.

Illustration Copyright © 2015 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved.

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