Hodgkin's Disease

John Han-Chih Chang, MD and Kenneth Blank, MD
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
I was surfing the Net and I thank you for the great Web site about Hodgkin's disease. My friend's dad was just diagnosed with Hodgkin's and while we were doing our research, we came upon some questions.

How often does Hodgkin's occur in males in their late 30s or early 40s? Is this disease hereditary? What is Amgen? What is Adriamycin? What is Alprazolam? What is nitrogen mustard? What is Prednisone? What is Procarbazine? What is peripheral neuropathy?

I would appreciate it if you all could help me with these questions for me and my friend.  

Kenneth Blank, MD and John Han-Chih Chang, MD, Editorial Assistants for Oncolink, respond:

Thank you for your question.

Hodgkin's disease displays a fairly unique and unusual age predilection: while most cancers tend to occur in one age group Hodgkin's disease demonstrates a bimodal distribution. Meaning that there is a young group affected ages 20-30 years old and then an older group ages 45 and over.

Hodgkin's disease is often treated with combination chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Many chemotherapeutic agents are effective against Hodgkin's disease including adriamycin, nitrogen mustard and procarbazine. Prednisone is a potent glucocorticoid (steroid) which has been approved by the FDA for treatment of lymphoma.

Alprozalam is a medication used to treat anxiety.

Amgen is the name of the company that makes Neupogen a medication which patients often receive after cancer treatments have depleted their white blood cell count.

Peripheral neuropathy is a medical term used to describe numbness and tingling or any other sensory changes in the extremities. Many chemotherapy agents can cause peripheral neuropathy including taxol, cisplatin and vinca alkaloids.

As with many other cancers the causative factors of Hodgkin's disease may be genetic, environmental, dietary or a combination of all three.