NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Hodgkin Lymphoma, Version 1.2015
Hodgkin lymphoma basics
How does Hodgkin lymphoma spread?
How does Hodgkin lymphoma
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
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.
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