|MadSci Network: Medicine|
Hi Sara, Hodgkin’s disease is a form of cancer which affects the lymph nodes. The lymph nodes are a kind of restaurant for your immune system. Inside the nodes are many immune cells looking for bacteria and viruses and they wait for the blood to act as a waiter and deliver the germs. Once the immune cells have digested and identified the germs they can activate other parts of the immune system to destroy the rest of the invading germs. In Hodgkin’s disease one type of immune cell doesn’t develop properly and forms Reed-Sternberg cells ( RS cells for short ). These RS cells don’t work properly and they grow out of control forming a tumour. The doctor can identify the RS cells under a microscope and diagnose Hodgkin’s disease. Treatment for the disease is usually radiotherapy for early stage disease or radiotherapy and chemotherapy for later stage disease. The good news is that Hodgkin’s disease has a very good cure rate especially if it is caught at an early stage. For young people who wish to learn more about the disease there isn’t very much easily understood material about. Most information is aimed at adults who work in hospitals. Fortunately there are one or two sources aimed at young people, try these sites – http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Bistro/2776/main.html the site also contains a links page which will be useful. http://www.children-cancer.com/ this site contains links for sites dealing with childhood cancer, so there will be information written with young people in mind. http://www.choa.org/hemonc/default.shtml this site lists hospitals specialising in childcare in the Atlanta area. They should be able to provide you with information about Hodgkin’s disease aimed at young people. Hope this helps. NIGE
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