Hodgkin vs. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: What’s the Difference?

Lymphoma, a type of cancer that arises from lymphocytes – the immune system’s cells, can be classified into two primary types: non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). Although they are both lymphomas, they exhibit noticeable differences in symptoms, prognosis, and treatment approach. In this blog, we’ll discuss the distinctions between Hodgkin vs. non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Hodgkin Lymphoma

Hodgkin lymphoma, also referred to as Hodgkin’s disease, is cancer that is not very common and makes up approximately 10% of all lymphomas. The primary characteristic of this ailment is the presence of anomalous and enlarged cells known as Reed-Sternberg cells that are located within the lymph nodes. Usually, Hodgkin lymphoma commences in one lymph node or a cluster of lymph nodes before extending to nearby nodes. Additionally, it may spread to other body regions like the liver, spleen, and bone marrow.

If you are experiencing symptoms such as enlarged lymph nodes, fever, night sweats, weight loss, and fatigue, it could be a sign of Hodgkin lymphoma. However, it’s essential to note that these symptoms are not unique to this type of lymphoma and can be present in other non-cancerous conditions or types of lymphoma. 

Therefore, seeking medical attention for an accurate diagnosis is crucial. Hodgkin lymphoma boasts a high cure rate, surpassing 80% in five-year survival rates. Typically, chemotherapy and radiation therapy constitute the standard treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma. However, stem cell transplantation may be a viable option for patients who do not respond to initial treatment or have a high relapse risk.

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma comprises around 90% of all lymphoma cases and is a more prevalent form of the disease. Unlike Hodgkin lymphoma, it lacks Reed-Sternberg cells and can start in any lymphoid tissue. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma can be further classified into several subtypes, each with its own distinct characteristics and treatment options.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma may present comparable symptoms to Hodgkin lymphoma, such as fever, fatigue, night sweats, weight loss, and swollen lymph nodes. The appropriate treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma is dependent on the patient’s age, cancer type, stage, and overall health. There are several treatment options available, like stem cell transplantation, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. 

The prognosis for non-Hodgkin lymphoma varies widely depending on the subtype and stage of cancer. Some subtypes, such as diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, can be highly aggressive and require intensive treatment. Other subtypes, such as follicular lymphoma, can be indolent and may not require immediate treatment.

Hodgkin vs. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: What’s the Difference?

According to the National Cancer Institute, individuals with Hodgkin lymphoma typically exhibit higher levels of Reed-Sternberg cells, which are abnormal white blood cells containing multiple nuclei. In contrast, those with non-Hodgkin lymphoma usually have a lower presence of these cells.

In terms of incidence rates, there are approximately 2.6 new cases of Hodgkin lymphoma per 100,000 individuals, while non-Hodgkin lymphoma has a higher incidence of around 19 new cases per 100,000 individuals. When it comes to outlook, Hodgkin lymphoma has an overall 5-year relative survival rate of 80%, whereas non-Hodgkin lymphoma has a lower rate of 73.8%.

Although Hodgkin lymphoma can occur in any part of the body, it frequently begins in the lymph nodes located in the upper body, including the neck, chest, and underarms. On the other hand, non-Hodgkin lymphoma can originate in any region of the body where lymphatic tissues are present.

Stay Connected with the Cancer and Blood Disorders Treatment and Infusion Center for More Information on Hodgkin vs. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

If you are experiencing symptoms of lymphoma, it is important to consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Early detection and treatment can improve outcomes and quality of life for patients with lymphoma. 

Contact us by filling out our online contact us form or reach us at 301-638-1007. Dr. Meelu and the team at the Cancer and Blood Disorders Treatment and Infusion Center are always available for consultation and treatment plans. We give extra support throughout your cancer treatment journey and ensure our patients get the best care.