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What is Hodgkin Lymphoma

Hodgkin lymphoma is a relatively rare type of lymphoma first identified in the 1830s by the English doctor Thomas Hodgkin.

Hodgkin Lymphoma was first identified in the 1830s by the English doctor Thomas Hodgkin after two scientists called Reed and Sternberg studied tissue samples of people with Hodgkin lymphoma and found a particular type of cell was always present. This cell is now called the Reed-Sternberg cell and it is larger in size than other lymphocytes. It is the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells that distinguishes Hodgkin lymphoma from other types of lymphomas.

Whilst NHL refers to a wide range of illnesses that all behave in slightly different ways, Hodgkin lymphoma is more distinct and more predictable in its behaviour. Compared to NHL, Hodgkin lymphoma looks different when viewed under the microscope, responds to different treatments and is generally easier to successfully treat.

Reed-Sternberg Cells


The large cells with large, pale nuclei (cell centres) containing
large purple nucleoli at the arrowheads are Reed-Sternberg cells
that indicate the presence of Hodgkin lymphoma disease.

How common is Hodgkin lymphoma?

In Australia, over 600 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma each year. It is a rare disease, accounting for 0.5% of all cancer types diagnosed...

Hodgkin lymphoma can occur in various age groups. In developed countries, it is most likely to occur:

  • Between the ages of 15 - 25 years old, or after the age of 65 years old
  • In young adults, it occurs in similar numbers of males and females
  • In older adults, it is more likely to occur in males

More detailed information about Hodgkin's lymphoma can be found in this fact sheet :  Hodgkin Lymphoma