Hodgkin’s lymphoma

In Northern Ireland in 2017, 56 people were diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. There are two main types of lymphoma: Hodgkin’s lymphoma |and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Only about 1 in 5 of all lymphomas diagnosed (20%) are Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is sometimes called Hodgkin’s disease. The earlier a cancer is picked up, the easier it is to treat it and the more likely the treatment is to be successful.

Signs and symptoms

The most common symptom of Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a swelling in the:

  • neck;
  • armpit;
  • groin.

The swelling is usually painless, although some people find that it aches. Other symptoms may include any of the following:

  • drenching and/or frequent sweats, especially at night;
  • unexplained high temperatures;
  • weight loss;
  • tiredness;
  • a cough or breathlessness;
  • a persistent itch all over the body.

A few people with Hodgkin’s lymphoma have abnormal cells in their bone marrow when they are diagnosed. This can lower the number of healthy blood cells in the blood. Low numbers of healthy blood cells can cause the following symptoms:

  • breathlessness and tiredness ;
  • an increased risk of infection;
  • excessive bleeding, such as nosebleeds, very heavy periods in women, or tiny spots of blood under the skin.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important that you see your GP.


There are a number of websites that provide information relating to Hodgkin’s lymphoma, these include:

This is not an exhaustive list and other sources of support in Northern Ireland can also be accessed via Northern Ireland Cancer Network.