Survival Rates for Hodgkin Lymphoma

Survival rates can give you an idea of 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.

Keep in mind that survival rates are estimates and are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had a specific cancer, but they can’t predict what will happen in any particular person’s case. These statistics can be confusing and may lead you to have more questions. Talk with your doctor about how these numbers may apply to you, as he or she is familiar with your situation.

What is a 5-year relative survival rate?

A relative survival rate compares people with the same type and stage of Hodgkin lymphoma to people in the overall population. For example, if the 5-year survival rate for a specific stage of Hodgkin lymphoma is 80%, it means that people who have that cancer are, on average, about 80% as likely as people who don't have that cancer to live 5 years after being diagnosed.

Where do these numbers come from?

The American Cancer Society relies on information from the SEER* database, maintained by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), to provide survival statistics for different types of cancer.

The SEER database tracks 5-year relative survival rates for Hodgkin lymphoma in the United States, based on how far the cancer has spread. The SEER database, however, does not group cancers by the Lugano classification (stage 1, stage 2, stage 3, etc.). Instead, it groups cancers into localized, regional, and distant stages:

  • Localized: The cancer is limited to one lymph node area, one lymphoid organ, or one organ outside the lymph system.
  • Regional: The cancer reaches from one lymph node area to a nearby organ, is found in two or more lymph node areas on the same side of the diaphragm, or is considered bulky disease.
  • Distant: The cancer has spread to distant parts of the body such as the lungs, liver, or bone marrow, or to lymph node areas above and below the diaphragm.

5-year relative survival rates for Hodgkin lymphoma

(Based on people diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma between 2008 and 2014.)

SEER Stage

5-Year Relative Survival Rate

Localized

92%

Regional

93%

Distant

78%

All SEER stages combined

87%

Understanding the numbers

  • These numbers apply only to the stage of the cancer when it is first diagnosed. They do not apply later on if the cancer grows, spreads, or comes back after treatment.
  • These numbers don’t take everything into account. Survival rates are grouped based on how far the cancer has spread, but your age, overall health, how well the cancer responds to treatment, and other prognostic factors (described below) can also affect your outlook.
  • People now being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma may have a better outlook than these numbers show. Treatments improve over time, and these numbers are based on people who were diagnosed and treated at least five years earlier.

Other prognostic factors

Along with the stage of the Hodgkin lymphoma, other factors can affect a person’s prognosis (outlook). For example, having some of these 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.

*SEER= Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results

 

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Bartlett NL, Triska G. Chapter 102: Hodgkin lymphoma. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Dorshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa. Elsevier: 2020.

National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®), Hodgkin Lymphoma, Version 3.2018 -- April 16, 2018. Accessed at www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/hodgkins.pdf on March 21, 2019.

Noone AM, Howlader N, Krapcho M, Miller D, Brest A, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2015, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2015/, based on November 2017 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2018.

Ruhl JL, Callaghan C, Hurlbut, A, Ries LAG, Adamo P, Dickie L, Schussler N (eds.) Summary Stage 2018: Codes and Coding Instructions, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, 2018.

 

Last Medical Review: May 1, 2018 Last Revised: March 21, 2019

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