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Childhood Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Sep 3, 2023.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system contains lymph vessels, lymph nodes, and glands, such as the spleen and thymus. Lymph vessels carry lymph fluid throughout the body. Lymph fluid contains lymphocytes (white blood cells) that help fight infection and disease. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma causes lymphocytes to grow and divide without control and to form tumors. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma can develop in any lymph tissue in the body. Common places are lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, and chest. Cancer cells can travel from lymph node to lymph node and spread through the body. Childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma usually affects older children. Some types are rare in children of any age.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.

Stay with your child for comfort and support

as often as possible while he or she is in the hospital. Ask another family member or someone close to the family to stay with your child when you cannot be there. Bring items from home that will comfort your child, such as a favorite blanket or toy.


is a small tube placed in your child's vein that is used to give medicine or liquids.


  • Antibiotics help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Immune globulins are given as a shot or an IV infusion to make your child's immune system stronger. Your child may need immune globulins to treat or prevent an infection. Your child may need many weeks of treatment. Each infusion can take from 2 to 5 hours.
  • Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until your child's pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.


  • Blood tests may show abnormal white blood cells or signs of anemia (not enough red blood cells). The tests may also be used to measure the amount of inflammation in your child's blood. Blood tests can also be used to check liver and kidney function.
  • A biopsy is a procedure to remove a tissue sample to be tested. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is diagnosed from a lymph node biopsy. Your child's provider may also test a bone marrow sample to see if the cancer has spread to your child's bones.
  • X-ray, ultrasound, CT, MRI, or PET scan pictures may show where the cancer is located. Your child's healthcare provider may also use the x-rays to look for blockages, signs of infection, or other health problems. Your child may be given contrast liquid to help the cancer show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. An MRI machine uses a powerful magnet. Do not let your child enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury from the magnet. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has any metal in or on his or her body.


  • 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 to treat cancer.
  • A bone marrow transplant is a procedure to replace your child's diseased bone marrow with healthy marrow. Your child may be given bone marrow from a donor. Your child's own marrow may be used if it is collected when the cancer is in remission (not active). The bone marrow transplant is given to your child in an IV while he or she is in the hospital.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options


Even with treatment, your child's cancer may spread or return. Your child may be at increased risk for other cancers later in life.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child.

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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.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.