Signs and symptoms
- Painless lymphadenopathy
- Night sweats or itching
- Weight loss
- Abdominal swelling or early satiety
- Cough or breathlessness
Lymphoma is the third most common type of childhood cancer. It accounts for around 10% of cases (160 children a year in the UK) and occurs in two main types: Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is distinguished from other types of lymphoma by the type of cancer cell formed – the Reed-Sternberg cell.
The exact cause of HL is unknown but there is increasing evidence that infections such infectious mononucleosis may play a part, especially when it occurs in children.
HL accounts for 41% of all childhood lymphoma diagnoses
It affects predominantly older children
Male to female preponderance of 2:1
Five year survival rates are very good at 96%
The mainstay of treatment is chemotherapy. A half of cases also require radiotherapy dependent on stage and histology.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) has 2 forms: B cell NHL (usually in the abdomen, neck or head) and T cell NHL (usually in the chest).
- NHL accounts for about 60% of lymphoma in children
Around 85 children are affected each year in the UK
NHL is rare in infants and has a male: female preponderance of 2:1
Long-term immunosuppression is thought to be a risk factor for children to develop NHL
5 year survival is still relatively good compared to other childhood cancer types at 88%
Treatment depends on stage and histology. B-cell NHL usually requires 4 – 8 courses of intensive chemotherapy, whereas treatment for T-cell NHL can take 2 years.