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Childhood Hodgkin Lymphoma


Childhood lymphoma,

or Hodgkin disease, is a cancer of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system contains lymph vessels, lymph nodes, and glands. Lymph vessels carry lymph fluid throughout the body. Lymph fluid contains lymphocytes (white blood cells) that help fight infection and disease. Hodgkin lymphoma causes lymphocytes to grow and divide without control and to form tumors. Hodgkin lymphoma can develop in any lymph tissue in the body. Common places are lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, and chest. Hodgkin cancer cells can travel from lymph node to lymph node and spread through the body.

Common signs and symptoms:

  • Swollen lymph nodes in your child's neck, chest, underarm, or groin

  • Fever, night sweats, or itchy skin
  • Weight loss you cannot explain, loss of appetite, or fatigue
  • A cough, trouble breathing, or chest pain

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your child has sudden chest pain.
  • Your child has trouble breathing.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child has a fever.
  • A new lump develops in your child's body.
  • Your child's bones or muscles hurt.
  • Your child is vomiting and cannot keep any food or liquids down.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.


will depend on your child's age and development. If your child has not gone through puberty and is not fully developed, treatment will center on chemotherapy (chemo). Your child may not get radiation, because radiation may prevent bone or muscle growth. Your child's healthcare provider will talk to you about the following treatments. The type of Hodgkin lymphoma your child has may also factor into the treatment decision.

  • Chemotherapy is medicine used to treat cancer by killing tumor cells. Chemotherapy may also be used to shrink lymph nodes that contain cancer.
  • Radiation therapy uses x-rays or gamma rays to treat cancer. Radiation kills cancer cells and may stop the cancer from spreading. It may be given alone or with chemotherapy.
  • A bone marrow transplant is a procedure to replace your child's diseased bone marrow with healthy marrow. Bone marrow is usually given from a donor. Your child's own marrow may be used if it is collected when his cancer is in remission (not active). The bone marrow transplant will be given in an IV while your child is in the hospital.
  • Surgery may be used for some types of childhood Hodgkin lymphoma. Your child's healthcare provider will remove some or all of any affected lymph nodes during surgery.

Care for your child:

  • Have your child rest as needed. Your child should return to activities slowly, and do more as he feels stronger.
  • Offer your child a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods will help your child get the protein, carbohydrates, and other nutrients his body needs. You may need to change the foods your child eats depending on his treatments and side effects. He may also need to eat more calories than usual. Work with a dietitian to plan the best meals and snacks for your child. Ask if he should take vitamins.
  • Keep your child away from people who have a cold or the flu. Also try to keep him away from large groups of people to decrease his risk.
  • Talk to your older child about not smoking. Talk to your healthcare provider if your child needs help quitting. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Ask your child's healthcare provider for information before your child uses these products.

Follow up with your child's oncologist as directed:

Your child will need to see his oncologist for ongoing treatment. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.