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Hodgkin's disease
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- also known as Hodgkin's lymphoma is a rare cancer of the lymphatic system, a part of your immune system that helps fight disease and infection. It's named after British physician Thomas Hodgkin, who first described the disease in 1832 and noted several characteristics that distinguish it from other lymphomas. In Hodgkin's disease, cells in the lymphatic system grow abnormally and may spread beyond the lymphatic system. As the disease progresses, it compromises your body's ability to fight infection and symptoms appear. Many symptoms may be similar to those of influenza, such as fever, fatigue and night sweats. Eventually, tumors develop. Hodgkin's disease mostly affects people between the ages of 15 and 35 and people older than age 55. Hodgkin's disease is one of two general types of cancers of the lymphatic system. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, the other type, is far more common. In 1999, there were about 7,200 new cases of Hodgkin's disease and about 1,300 deaths due to Hodgkin's disease in the United States. There were about 56,800 new cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and about 25,700 deaths due to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Before 1970 few people diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease recovered. Today, as many as 50 percent to 80 percent of even those with advanced Hodgkin's disease live longer than 10 years with no sign of recurrence. Advances in diagnosis, staging and treatment of Hodgkin's disease have helped to make this once uniformly fatal disease a potentially curable one. Within 5 to 15 years following treatment, more people die of complications of the treatment, such as secondary cancers and heart failure, than of the disease itself. The challenge for researchers is to decrease the long-term complications of treatment without compromising the effectiveness of the therapy.

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