Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) in childhood may refer to any lymphoma (cancer of the lymph system) that is not Hodgkin's lymphoma (see also Hodgkin lymphoma) that develops during childhood.
Lymph tissue is found in the lymph nodes, spleen and other organs of the immune system. NHL can start from either B-cells or T-cells, both are a type of white blood cell important in fighting infection. Because there are many different forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, there are varying causes, diagnoses, and treatments for each. While some are caused by genetics, others may be caused by infection, chemicals, or radiation. Often times, a specific cause is not known. NHL sometimes occurs in individuals with weakened immune systems such as those with HIV/AIDS or those who have undergone an organ transplant.
Symptoms of NHL may include a swelling of the lymph nodes and other body parts (head, neck, arms), trouble breathing, coughing, wheezing, trouble swallowing, fever, night sweats, weight loss, fatigue (tiredness or weakness), and itching. Symptoms of lymphomas are not specific and similar symptoms could be a result of other conditions. However, if your child presents one or more of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor to schedule tests to find out for sure. Lymphomas are generally diagnosed through a biopsy of the lymph nodes, although other exams are available. Treatment varies depending on the type and stage of the cancer. Treatments may include surgery, chemotherapy, or other targeted therapies.
If your child has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, contact your doctor to discuss the most current treatment options available.