Lymphoma of Childhood (Hodgkin's Disease)

Lymphomas are tumors. These tumors are divided into Hodgkin's disease and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. In Hodgkin's disease, tumors are often confined to a small area in the neck (cervical nodes) or in the area above the collarbones.

Hodgkin's disease in childhood has a good likely outcome (prognosis). Hodgkin's disease in children is similar to Hodgkin's disease in adults.

CAUSES

Hodgkin's disease may be caused by an infection, but the definite cause is not known.

SYMPTOMS

This disease usually shows itself as a painless enlargement of the lymph nodes. This is commonly referred to as "swollen glands in your neck," although they are not glands. It can also show up as enlarged lymph nodes in the chest. Additional symptoms may include fever, night sweats, and weight loss.

DIAGNOSIS

Hodgkin's disease can be diagnosed with the aid of a procedure in which a tissue sample is taken (biopsy). The sample is then looked at under a microscope. It is necessary to know the stage of the disease in order to treat it properly. Staging the disease is done by clinical and surgical evaluation. Other tests will sometimes show abnormalities in the blood.

TREATMENT

The less involved the disease or fewer locations of diseased tissue usually means a better prognosis. The disease is often treated with medications (chemotherapy) and X-ray therapy (radiation).

RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS

Growth restriction and restrictive lung disease may occur from treatment with radiation. Your caregiver will discuss all of your treatment options with you.