Hodgkin lymphoma symptoms, risk factors, and FAQs


The most common symptom of HL is a painless lump in the neck, under the arm or in the groin. This lump is an enlarged lymph node, and it may become painful after drinking alcohol. The lump might get bigger over time, or new lumps might appear near it or even in other parts of the body.

In addition, some people may have B symptoms:

  • Fever without an infection
  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss without trying
  • Itchy skin
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cough, trouble breathing or chest pain

Risk factors

Research has identified a few risk factors that make people more likely to develop HL, but we are not sure why:

  • Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). EBV causes infectious mononucleosis.
  • Age. Hodgkin lymphoma is most common in the 20s and after age 55.
  • Gender. Occurs slightly more often in males than in females.
  • Family history.
  • Weakened immune system. The risk of Hodgkin lymphoma is increased in people infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Questions and answers (FAQs)

Yes. These side effects depend on the type of treatment and the patient’s age when treated, and may include:

  • Second cancers
  • Solid tumors
  • Infertility
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Heart disease, such as heart attack
  • Lung problems, such as trouble breathing
  • Avascular necrosis of bone
  • Severe infection
  • Chronic fatigue

The 5-year combined relative survival rate for HL is 87%.

Source: National Cancer Institute

Yes. Depending on the type of HL, early diagnosis and treatment, and the condition of the patient, HL can be cured.

Hodgkin lymphoma: learn more