Lymphoma is the third most common type of childhood cancer. It accounts for around 10% of childhood cancer diagnoses, affecting 160 children a year in the UK. Lymptoma is split into two main groups: Hodgkin lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.


Symptoms of Lymphoma

Chidlren with lymphoma can have a number of symptoms at diagnosis. They may include:

  • Enlarged lymph nodes / non painful lumps in the armpits, neck or groin
  • Recurrent fevers
  • Night sweats or itching
  • Weight loss
  • Swollen stomach
  • Cough or breathlessness
  • Feeling unusually tired


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 as glandular fever may play a part.

  • HL accounts for 41% of all childhood lymphoma diagnoses

  • HL affects mainly older children

  • Boys twice as likely to be diagnosed as girls

  • Survival rates are very good at 96% 5 year survival

​The mainstay of treatment is chemotherapy with around a half of children receiving radiotherapy as well.


Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

​There are two main types of Non Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL): B cell and T cell NHL

  • ​NHL accounts for about 60% of lymphoma in children with around 85 children diagnosed evvery year in the UK

  • NHL is rare in babies

  • Boys are twice as likely to be diagnosed with NHL as girls

  • Children diagnosed do relatively well with 88% 5 year survival

​Treatment depends on how the stage of the tumour and the cell types. Generally, B cell NHL requires 4 to 8 courses of intensive chemotherapy, whereas treatment for T-cell NHL can take 2 years.


If you are reading this page:

If you are reading this page, the likelihood is that you are worried your child or a child close to you may have cancer. Alternatively, they may have recently been diagnosed. If you have any concerns or queries, please discuss them with a member of your child's health care team. If you are unsure, it is always better to have your child reviewed.



Content reviewed July 2021