Hodgkin's Lymphoma

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Latest Edit: Iva Lloyd, ND 2014-01-31 (EDT)

Editor-In-Chief: Dr. Heidi Kussmann, ND, FABNO

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that accounts for about 1% of new cancer cases annually in the USA, or about 7,000 cases per year. Hodgkin's Lymphoma has two peak ages of incidence - one in the 20s and the second after the age of 50. This type of cancer is one that affects the lymphocytes, a subclass of white blood cells. In 70% of cases it presents as enlarged lymph nodes in the neck. [1].

Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Causes Infections,Smoking, Diet
See Also Oncology, Hodgkin's Lymphoma Details
Books Books on Oncology
Articles Articles on Oncology (Cancer)

Naturopathic Assessment

Causal Factors

In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. A detailed assessment is required to determine which factors are contributing.


  • There is an association of unclear significance with Epstein Barr Virus infection.


  • There is an association between smoking and Hodgkin lymphoma in general, and Epstein-Barr-positive Hodgkin lymphoma in particular.[3], [4]


  • Diet high in red meat, fats and beer are associated with increased risk of developing Hodgkin's.[4]
  • Obesity, high caloric intake, higher consumption of carbohydrate and protein are associated with increased risk of NHL, whereas a significantly reduced risk was observed with higher intake of vegetables.[5]
  • High consumption of alcohol may increase one's risk of Hodgkin's; whereas a low to moderate level of consumption may actually have some benefit.
  • It has also been found that the tolerance for alcohol may be associated with Hodgkin's lymphoma.[6]


  • Socio-economic Status
  • In westernized countries, the first peak of incidence occurs in higher social classes, those with advanced education, and small family size. A delay in exposure to common infectious agents is also suggested.

Medical Interventions

  • Chemotherapy and Radiation
  • Previous chemotherapy and radiation exposure has been found to be a risk factor in developing Hodgkin's lymphoma.


  • Genetics
  • Three genetic variants (on chromosomes 2, 8 and 10) that were much more common in people with Hodgkin's lymphoma, all of which are located in or near genes that have previously been linked to the immune system. A separate region of DNA on chromosome 6 - the MHC region, which contains genes involved in the immune system - was also found to be associated with an increased risk of the disease. [7]
  • Gender
  • About 85% of children with Hodgkin's Lypmhoma are boys.
  • In adults, the nodular sclerosing subtype of Hodgkin's Lymphoma has a female predominance, and the other types are most common in men.[1]


See Also: Hodgkin's Lymphoma_Details

Diagnostic Tests

Hodgkin's Lymphoma always originates in a lymph node and presents as a painless enlargement. The standard work-up includes the following:[8]

  • History and physical exam with a special focus on the lymph nodes of the neck.
  • Lab Tests: CBC with differential, ESR, electrolytes, albumin, liver function tests, mineral panel, Lactate Dehydrogenase
  • Diagnostic Testing including: Chest X-ray, CT scan of the chest, abdomen and pelvis, PET scan if indicated, Bone marrow aspirate and biopsy and a pulmonary function tests if indicated. A Echocardiogram or MUGA scan may be used to determine cardiac ejection fraction. Excisional lymph node biopsy to assess lymph node histology.

Associated Conditions

Other conditions associated with Hodgkin's Lymphoma include:

  • Immune Compromised
  • HIV
  • HIV-associated Hodgkin's Lymphoma often presents with constitutional symptoms, advanced stage, and unusual sites of involvement like the marrow, skin, and nervous tissue.[1]

Naturopathic Treatment

The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body. A treatment strategy is the most effective when it addresses the underlying causal factors. The treatment for prostate cancer depends on the staging (progression) of the cancer, an individual's symptoms, vitality and other conditions. The treatment strategies include: Prevention, Cancer Specific Treatments, Supportive Care and Prevent Recurrence.

It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.


Prevention involves addressing any of the causal factors before they cause cancer. The prevention of Hodgkin's Lymphoma includes:

  • Adequate immuno-competency acquired in early age may be an important factor when considering the causal factors.
  • Prevention focused towards targeting NF-kappa B for activation may also provide early preventive solutions.

Cancer Specific Treatments

The following may be beneficial in those with Kidney Cancer.[9]

  • Supplementation such as
  • Acupuncture to assist with reduction of chemotherapy and radiation induced side effects. It is also effective at reducing pain, anxiety, supporting sleep and appetite.

Supportive Care

Supportive care is often beneficial when conventional treatments such as surgery or radiation therapy are chosen.

Prevent Recurrence

Once a person has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma they are then staged. By nature of the disease, Hodgkin's Lymphoma can recur after periods of remission. There is no known strategy that is proven clinically to prevent recurrence. However, there are many strategies that, when compiled together, add up to protect the body from recurrence better than if nothing was done at all. Speak to your licensed Naturopathic Doctor about the particular strategy(ies) which are best individualized to your needs as a person with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Casciato DA. Manual of Clinical Oncology 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 2004. Pp 417-457.
  2. Iannitti T, Capone S, Gatti A, Capitani F, Cetta F, Palmieri B. Intracellular heavy metal nanoparticle storage: progressive accumulation within lymph nodes with transformation from chronic inflammation to malignancy. Int J Nanomedicine. 2010 Nov 15;5:955-60.
  3. Willett EV, O'Connor S, Smith AG, Roman E. Does smoking or alcohol modify the risk of Epstein-Barr virus-positive or -negative Hodgkin lymphoma? Epidemiology. 2007 Jan;18(1):130-6.
  4. 4.0 4.1 De Stefani E, Fierro L, Barrios E, Ronco A. Tobacco, alcohol, diet and risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: a case-control study in Uruguay. Leuk Res. 1998 May;22(5):445-52.
  5. Ali A, Al-Belushi BS, Waly MI, Al-Moundhri M, Burney IA. Dietary and Lifestyle Factors and Risk of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in Oman. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2013;14(2):841-8.
  6. Bryant AJ, Newman JH. Alcohol intolerance associated with Hodgkin lymphoma. CMAJ. 2013 May 14;185(8):E353.
  7. Enciso-Mora, V.et al (2010) A genome-wide association study of Hodgkin's lymphoma identifies new susceptibility loci at 2p16.1 (REL), 8q24.21 and 10p14 (GATA3) Nature Genetics DOI: 10.1038/ng.696
  8. Annunziata CM, and Longo DL. (2007). Lymphoma, Hodgkin. In Boyiadzis MM Editor, Lebowitz PF Editor, Frame JN Editor, and Fojo, T. Editor (Eds.) Hematology - Oncology Therapy; (pp 437-465). New York, USA: McGraw-Hill Medical
  9. Alshuler L and Gazella KA. The Definitive Guide to Cancer, 3rd Edition: An Integrative Approach to Prevention, Treatment, and Healing 2007 Ten Speed Press/Celestial Arts Publishing pp.187-212