Survival Rates for Hodgkin Lymphoma By Stage

Survival rates tell you what percentage of people with the same type and stage of cancer are still alive a certain amount of time (usually 5 years) after they were diagnosed. They can’t tell you how long you will live, but they may help give you a better understanding about how likely it is that your treatment will be successful.

What is a 5-year survival rate?

Statistics on the outlook for a certain type and stage of cancer are often given as 5-year survival rates. The 5-year survival rate is the percentage of people who live at least 5 years after being diagnosed with cancer. For example, a 5-year survival rate of 70% means that about 70 out of 100 people who have that cancer are still alive 5 years after being diagnosed.

Keep in mind that many of these people live much longer than 5 years after diagnosis. And remember, the 5-year survival rates are estimates – your outlook can vary based on a number of factors specific to you.

Cancer survival rates don’t tell the whole story

Survival rates are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had the disease, but they can’t predict what will happen in any individual case. There are a number of limitations to remember:

  • The numbers below are among the most current available, but they're old. And to get 5-year survival rates, doctors have to look at people who were treated at least 5 years before these numbers were collected. Treatments are improving over time, people who are diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma today may have a better outlook than these statistics show.
  • These statistics are based on the stage of the cancer when it was first diagnosed. They do not apply to cancers that later come back or spread, for example.
  • The outlook for people with Hodgkin lymphoma varies by the stage (extent) of the cancer – in general, the survival rates are higher for people with earlier stage cancers. But many other factors can affect a person’s outlook (see below). The outlook for each person is specific to their circumstances.

Your doctor should be able to tell you how these numbers may apply to you.

Survival rates for Hodgkin lymphoma

The numbers below come from the National Cancer Institute’s SEER database, looking at more than 8,000 people diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma between 1988 and 2001. The 5-year survival rate for people with stage I Hodgkin lymphoma is about 90%.  For stage II Hodgkin lymphoma, the 5-year survival rate is about 90%. The 5-year survival rate for stage III Hodgkin lymphoma is about 80%. Stage IV Hodgkin lymphoma has a 5-year survival rate of about 65%.

Remember, these survival rates are only estimates – they can’t predict what will happen to any individual person. We understand that these statistics can be confusing and may lead you to have more questions. Talk to your doctor to better understand your specific situation. 

Other prognostic factors

Along with the stage of the Hodgkin lymphoma, other factors can affect a person’s prognosis (outlook). For example, having some factors means the lymphoma is likely to be more serious:

  • Having B symptoms or bulky disease
  • Being older than 45
  • Being male
  • Having a high white blood cell count (above 15,000)
  • Having a low red blood cell count (hemoglobin level below 10.5)
  • Having a low blood lymphocyte count (below 600)
  • Having a low blood albumin level (below 4)
  • Having a high erythrocyte sedimentation rate, or ESR (over 30 in someone with B symptoms, or over 50 for someone without B symptoms)

Some of these factors are used to help divide stage I or II Hodgkin lymphoma into favorable and unfavorable groups, which can affect how intense the treatment needs to be.   

To learn more, see Treating Classic Hodgkin Lymphoma by Stage.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

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National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®), Hodgkin Lymphoma, Version I.2018 -- December 20, 2017. Accessed at www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/hodgkins.pdf on March 19, 2018.

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Last Medical Review: May 1, 2018 Last Revised: May 1, 2018

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