Skip To The Main Content

What Is Hodgkin Disease?

Hodgkin disease is a type of cancer. To help you understand what is happening when you have cancer, it helps to understand how your body works normally. Our bodies are made up of tiny building blocks called cells. Normal cells grow and multiply when the body needs them, and die out when the body does not need them.

Cancer is made up of abnormal cells that grow whether they are needed or not. Hodgkin disease is a type of cancer that starts in your lymphatic system. It’s named after the English doctor, Thomas Hodgkin, who first described a group of people with this disease in 1832. Hodgkin disease is a type of lymphoma. Another type of lymphoma is non-Hodgkin lymphoma. To learn about non-Hodgkin lymphoma, select it from the list of types of cancer.

the lymphatic system
Click to enlarge

When you have Hodgkin disease, cells in your lymph nodes grow out of control. Lymph nodes are small collections of cells called lymphocytes in various places in your body, such as your armpits and groin. They help your body fight infection. The mass of extra cells form a tumor. Sometimes tumors form in the spleen or in other organs. Hodgkin disease is unusual in that only a minority of the cells in the tumor are malignant (cancerous).

Of all the lymphomas, Hodgkin disease is one of the most curable.


MetroWest Medical Center provides advanced medicine and personalized care, right here in your community.

Click here to see our services 


The Center for Heart & Vascular Services. At the forefront of heart and vascular disease for more than 25 years.

Learn More