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Childhood Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 4, 2024.

What is non-Hodgkin lymphoma?

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.

What causes childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma?

The cause of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is not known. The following may increase your child's risk:

What are the signs and symptoms of childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma?

How is childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosed?

Your child's healthcare provider will ask about your child's symptoms and when they began. Tell the provider if your child has a family history of non-Hodgkin lymphoma or other risk factors. Your child's provider will check your child's organs to help find problems non-Hodgkin lymphoma can cause. For example, shortness of breath may mean lymph tissue in your child's lung or chest is affected. The following tests may be used to diagnose non-Hodgkin lymphoma or to find out if it is early stage or later stage:

How is childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma treated?

Treatment will depend on your child's age and development. Treatment will also depend on the size and location of any tumors. The type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma your child has may also factor into the treatment decision.

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

What can I do to care for my child?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my child's oncologist?

Care Agreement

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. 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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