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What is the Hodgkin Itch?

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Updated October 22, 2006

Question: What is the Hodgkin Itch?
Answer:

Itching is one of the peculiar symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma. About 10-25% of individuals suffering from Hodgkin disease suffer from an intense itch. In some, the itching starts before the diagnosis of lymphoma is made. It is often felt as a burning sensation occurring on a particular area of skin, frequently on the lower legs.

The cause of this itch is not definitely known. It is believed that some blood cells release chemicals near the nerves of the skin and irritates these nerves. We feel this as an itch.

Itching in Hodgkin has more importance than just being an uncommon symptom. It may be an indicator of a less favorable prognosis when associated with significant fever or weight loss ("B" symptoms).

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