Hodgkin Lymphoma: Stages

June 23, 2017

Hodgkin Lymphoma: Stages

What does staging mean?

The stage of a cancer is how much and how far the cancer has spread in your body. Your healthcare provider uses exams and tests to find the location, growth, and spread of the cancer. Your provider can also tell if it is affecting other parts of your body. It’s very important to know the stage of your cancer. This helps to decide what kind of treatment you should have.

The stages of Hodgkin lymphoma

The staging system for Hodgkin lymphoma has 4 stages. It uses Roman numerals I, II, III, and IV.

A letter may also be added after the Roman numeral to give more information. It may be one of the following:

  • B is added if you have any of these symptoms: unexplained fever of at least 100.4°F (38°C), drenching night sweats, or weight loss without dieting. These are called B symptoms.

  • A means you don’t have any B symptoms.

  • E means the lymphoma has spread to an organ outside the lymphatic system.

  • S means the lymphoma has spread to your spleen.

  • X is added if you have bulky disease. This means that a tumor in your chest is at least 1/3 as wide as your chest. Or it means that a tumor is about 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter.

The stages of Hodgkin lymphoma are:

Stage I is either of the following:

  • The lymphoma is in 1 group of lymph nodes. Or it is in 1 organ where lymphatic tissue is found, such as the thymus (stage I).

  • The cancer is found in 1 organ outside the lymphatic system and hasn’t spread to any other part of the body (stage IE).

Stage II is either of the following:

  • The lymphoma is in 2 or more groups of lymph nodes on the same side of your diaphragm, either above or below your diaphragm (stage II). The diaphragm is a thin band of muscle that divides your chest and your belly or abdomen.

  • The cancer started in 1 group of lymph nodes and is now also in a nearby organ (stage IIE).

Stage III is either of the following:

  • The cancer is in lymph nodes on both sides of your diaphragm, both above and below your diaphragm (stage III).

  • The cancer may also have spread to a nearby organ (stage IIIE), to your spleen (stage IIIS), or to both (stage IIIES).

Stage IV is the following:

  • The lymphoma has spread to 1 or more organs outside of your lymphatic system. Common organs that Hodgkin lymphoma usually spreads to include the liver, bone marrow, and lungs.

Talking with your healthcare provider

When your cancer is staged, your healthcare provider will talk with you about what the stage means for your treatment. Make sure to ask any questions or talk about your concerns.


June 23, 2017

Reviewed By:  

LoCicero, Richard, MD,Watson, L Renee, MSN, RN