Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Hodgkin's Lymphoma Anatomy

To better understand Hodgkin's disease, it helps to understand the anatomy of the lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system consists of a network of lymph vessels and lymph nodes throughout the body. The system transports a type of white blood cell, called lymphocytes. These cells play a role in fighting infection.

There are two main types of lymphocytes:

  • B lymphocytes
  • T lymphocytes

The lymphatic system performs two major functions:
  • Stores and transports cells that fight infection
  • Removes excess fluid from body tissues

The lymphatic system consists of:
  • Lymph vessels:
    • A network of vessels throughout the body that transport white blood cells called lymphocytes.
    • There are two main types of lymphocytes: B-cells and T-cells.
  • Lymph glands:
    • The lymph vessels connect in many areas known as lymph nodes.
    • The nodes act as filters to fight infection in the body.
    • Lymph nodes can enlarge in response to inflammation.
    • This can occur due to cancer or an infection nearby the lymph vessels.

Anatomy examples:
  • Areas of lymph nodes in the body
  • Areas in the body where lymph nodes can be felt
  • Abnormal lymph node cells due to Hodgkin's disease
  • Lymphatic system around the armpit and breast
  • Lymphatic system in the abdomen

Last Updated: Dec 15, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Hodgkin's Lymphoma References
  1. Cartwright RA, Watkins G. Epidemiology of Hodgkin's disease: a review. Hematol Oncol. 2004 Mar;22(1):11-26. [15152367]
  2. Dieckmann K, Potter R, Wagner W, Prott FJ, Hornig-Franz I, Rath B, Schellong G. Up-front centralized data review and individualized treatment proposals in a multicenter pediatric Hodgkin's disease trial with 71 participating hospitals: the experience of the German-Austrian pediatric multicenter trial DAL-HD-90. Radiother Oncol. 2002 Feb;62(2):191-200. [11937246]
  3. McCunney RJ. Hodgkin's disease, work, and the environment. A review. J Occup Environ Med. 1999 Jan;41(1):36-46. [9924719]
  4. Provencio M, Espana P, Millan I, Yebra M, Sanchez AC, de la Torre A, Bonilla F, Regueiro CA, de Letona JM. Prognostic factors in Hodgkin's disease. Leuk Lymphoma. 2004 Jun;45(6):1133-9. [15359992]
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