Hodgkin's disease, also known as Hodgkin's lymphoma, is an immune disease characterized by abnormal growth of cells in the lymphatic system. This form of cancer is most common in young adults between 15 and 35 years of age, or in adults over the age of 50.
Lymphoma occurs when cells in the lymph nodes start to produce malignant cells that can attack other tissues in the body. Hodgkin's disease is the rarer of the two varieties of lymphatic cancer, the other being non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. There are four kinds of Hodgkin's disease: chronic lymphocytic leukemia; cutaneous B-cell lymphoma; cutaneous T-cell lymphoma; and lymphoma.
Among the common symptoms of Hodgkin's disease are swelling of the lymph nodes in the armpit, groin or neck; fever; night sweats, unexplained weight loss; fatigue; itching; and a heightened sensitivity to alcohol. Risk factors for the condition include age, a family history of the disease, being male, and a history of illnesses caused by the Epstein-Barr virus.
Treatment of Hodgkin's disease depends on the stage of cancer, but options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, bone marrow transplants, and drug therapy using medication. Drug classes sometimes used to treat Hodgkin's disease are nitrosoureas, nitrogen mustard analogs, methylhydrazines, other cytotoxic antibiotics, other topical antineoplastics, antineoplastic monoclonal antibodies, and vinca alkaloids and analogs.