Hodgkin Disease

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Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging TOPICS

Can Hodgkin disease be found early?

At this time, there are no widely recommended screening tests for this cancer. (Screening is testing for cancer in people without any symptoms.) Still, in some cases Hodgkin disease can be found early.

The best way to find Hodgkin disease early is to pay attention to possible symptoms. The most common symptom is enlargement of one or more lymph nodes, causing a lump or bump under the skin which is usually not painful. This is most often on the side of the neck, in the armpit, or in the groin. More often this is caused by something like an infection, rather than Hodgkin disease, but it is important to have such lumps checked by your doctor.

Other symptoms can include fever that doesn’t go away, drenching night sweats that often require changing bed sheets or night clothes, and unexplained weight loss. Severe and constant itching can be another symptom of Hodgkin disease. However, very early in the disease, many people with Hodgkin disease may not have any symptoms. For more on possible symptoms, see “How is Hodgkin disease diagnosed?”

Careful, regular medical checkups may be helpful for people with known risk factors for Hodgkin disease, such as a strong family history. These people do not commonly develop Hodgkin disease, but they and their doctors should know about possible symptoms and signs.

Last Medical Review: 12/10/2012
Last Revised: 02/07/2014