Staging is a way of describing or classifying a cancer based on the extent of cancer in the body. The most common staging system for Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is the Cotswold system, which is a modification of the older Ann Arbor system.
There are 4 stages of HL, with further classifications described by a letter:
Lymph nodes are grouped into areas or regions. The number of lymph node areas may be indicated with a subscript. For example, stage II HL with 3 areas of affected lymph nodes may appear as II3.
The Cotswold staging system further groups the information into the stages listed in the table below.
HL is found in a single area of lymph nodes or single lymphatic structure such as the spleen or thymus.
HL is found outside the lymph nodes in one organ or area.
HL is found in 2 or more lymph node areas on the same side of the diaphragmdiaphragmThe thin muscle below the lungs and heart that separates the chest cavity from the abdomen. (either above or below, but not both).
HL is found in one or more lymph node areas on the same side of the diaphragm (either above or below, but not both) and outside the lymph nodes in a nearby organ or area.
HL is found in lymph node areas both above and below the diaphragm.
HL is found in lymph node areas on both sides of the diaphragm and in a nearby tissue or organ.
HL is found in lymph node areas on both sides of the diaphragm and in the spleen.
HL is found in lymph node areas on both sides of the diaphragm as well as in a nearby tissue or organ and in the spleen.
Stage III may be subdivided into stage III (1) and stage III (2)
stage III (1)
HL is found only in the upper abdomen, above the renal vein (vein that drains the kidney).
stage III (2)
HL is found in lymph nodes in the pelvis and/or near the heart.
HL has spread to more than one organ outside the lymphatic system, and cancer cells may or may not be found in lymph nodes near these organs.
HL is found in only one organ outside the lymphatic system and in distant lymph nodes (lymph nodes far away from the organ).
Relapsed HL means that the cancer has come back after it has been treated. It may recur in the same location as the original cancer or it may recur in another part of the body (metastatic HL).
Refractory HL means that the cancer did not go away with treatment.
The Canadian Cancer Society provides helpful information about government income programs, financial resources and other resources available to families struggling to make sense of the personal financial burden they face.