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Hodgkin Lymphoma Staging

Doctors classify Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) 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

Involvement of one lymph node group

Stage II

Involvement of two or more lymph node groups on the same side of the diaphragm (a thin muscle below the lungs)

Stage III

Involvement of lymph node groups on both sides of the diaphragm

Stage IV

Involvement of one or more organs other than the lymph nodes and possible involvement of the lymph nodes

Categories A, B, X and E

The four stages of HL can be divided into categories:

  • A Category: No fever, no exaggerated sweating and no weight loss are present.
  • B Category: Fever, excessive sweating and weight loss are present.
  • X Category: Bulky disease (large masses of lymphocytes) is present.
  • E Category: The lymphoma has spread  to areas or organs outside of the lymph nodes, or to tissues beyond, but near, the major lymphatic areas.

For example, stage IIB indicates that the patient has

  • Two lymph node sites near each other with disease involvement (for example, enlarged lymph nodes in the neck and near the collarbone, or in the neck and the armpit)
  • 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 Wednesday, October 29, 2014

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