Does Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Cause a Rash?

While rashes are extremely uncommon, Hodgkin's lymphoma can produce itching skin. More often than not, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma causes a rash.

A blood cancer that starts in the lymphatic system—which is made up of your body's nodes, organs, and vessels—is known as Hodgkin's lymphoma or Hodgkin's disease.

It typically starts in the white blood cells called B lymphocytes in your upper body, which aid in the immune system's ability to combat infections.

Hodgkin's lymphomas (HL) make up only 10% of all lymphomas. The majority are non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL), which are among the most common cancers in the US, according to the American Cancer Society.

The primary distinction between NHL and HL is that the latter only manifests in the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells. These cells are distinct in that they could contain several nuclei.

Is the rash a symptom of Hodgkin’s lymphoma?

A rash is less common in HL patients than in NHL patients.

Additional signs and symptoms for both NHL and HL could be:
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • fever
  • fatigue (low energy)
  • shortness of breath
  • cough
  • abdominal pain or swelling
  • night sweats
  • loss of appetite
  • unintentional weight loss

How common is rash in Hodgkin’s lymphoma?

It is rare for HL to cause a skin rash. However, pruritus—a term for itching skin—can occur without a rash.

What types of lymphoma can cause a rash?

An itchy rash could be a symptom of cutaneous lymphoma, a form of NHL that appears in the skin but not in the lymph nodes or other organs.

B-cell or T-cell lymphomas are the two types of NHL that determine the type of cutaneous lymphoma. The majority of skin lymphomas, also known as cutaneous T-cell lymphomas (CTCLs), are T-cells.

Approximately 50% of cutaneous lymphomas are CTCLs or mycosis fungoides. Males are affected by this ailment twice as often as females, and it is more common in those in their 50s and 60s.

The most prevalent type of B-cell skin lymphoma is called primary cutaneous follicle centre lymphoma (PCFCL). Adults in their middle years are primarily affected by this slow-growing lymphoma.

For HL, skin lymphoma is extremely uncommon. Merely 0.5-7.5% of individuals with HL experience it. It could appear later in HL and portend a less favourable result.

There are now fewer instances of HL spreading to the skin because of the emergence of more potent treatment options.

What does a lymphoma rash look like?

A cutaneous lymphoma rash could look like this:
  • lesions, called plaques, that are thick, lowered, or raised
  • large bumps, or nodules, just below your skin
  • small lesions, or papules, that look like pimples
  • flat lesions
Usually crimson to purple, the rash is scaly. It can appear on some or all of your body, particularly in places where you don't get much sun exposure.

How can I treat lymphoma rash?

The type of lymphoma producing your rash will determine how it is treated.

A physician may suggest any of the following for CTCLs:
  • topical creams on prescription that include any of the following:
  1. corticosteroids
  2. chemotherapy drugs
  3. imiquimod (Zyclara)
  4. retinoids
  • ultraviolet A (UVA) light and psoralen, a combination therapy that includes phototherapy and UVA light with psoralen medications that kill cancer cells when exposed to UV light
  • UVB light phototherapy is commonly utilised for small lesions.
Radiation therapy, which uses high-frequency rays to kill cancer cells, is an effective treatment option for PCFCL.

What are the early symptoms of Hodgkin’s lymphoma?

Even though a rash could be the initial sign of an NHL, such as mycosis fungoides, it doesn't usually mean HL. The most typical early sign of HL is a lump in the groyne, armpit, or neck that represents an enlarged lymph node.

The lump is normally painless, but alcohol consumption may cause it to hurt. On the other hand, touching a swollen lymph node brought on by an illness or another reason usually results in pain.

If your lymph node is swollen but you don't have an infection, you should see a doctor.


It is uncommon for HL to cause a skin rash. With the NHL, it happens more frequently. However, you could have itchy skin without a rash.

A physician could advise phototherapy or topical treatments to treat a lymphoma rash.


Do lymphoma rashes go away?

These areas may eventually thicken and develop into elevated tumours known as plaques. The rashes could disappear for a while before reappearing, or they might be constant. Sezary syndrome.

How do I know if my rash is lymphoma?

Some skin lymphomas appear as a rash over some or most of the body

What is the location of the lymphoma rash?

Lower trunk, thighs, buttocks or breasts.

How curable is Hodgkin's lymphoma?

Very treatable and highly curable

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