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Hodgkin Lymphoma Staging

Doctors classify Hodgkin lymphoma by staging. Staging helps doctors predict the disease's extent and create an appropriate treatment plan.

Doctors commonly use the Modified Ann Arbor Staging System, which categorizes the disease by its extent and symptoms.

Lymphoma Stages


Number and Location of Affected Lymph Nodes and Organs

Stage I

One lymph node region or a single body organ, such as bone, liver or a lung

Stage II Two or more lymph node regions that are:
  • close to each other, such as all in the neck, armpit and chest or all in the abdomen (stomach area) and groin
  • on the same side of the diaphragm, the muscle below the lungs that we use to breathe
Stage III Several lymph node regions:
  • in areas such as the neck, chest and abdomen
  • both above and below the diaphragm
Stage IV

Widespread distribution of lymph nodes:

  • above and below the diaphragm
  • in other organs, such as bone, liver or a lung

Categories A and B

Stages I to IV are further divided into A and B categories to indicate whether patients have certain symptoms:

  • A Category: No fever, no exaggerated sweating and no weight loss are present.
  • B Category: Fever, excessive sweating and weight loss are present.

For example, if you were diagnosed with stage IIB Hodgkin lymphoma, you would:

  • have affected lymph nodes in two close regions of your body (such as the neck and collarbone or the neck and armpit) and
  • be suffering from fever, excessive sweating and weight loss

Your treatment depends on your stage and category. Patients who fall into the B category usually need more aggressive treatment than A category patients do.

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last updated on Thursday, March 15, 2012

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