Lymphoma of Childhood

(Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma)

Lymphomas are tumors. These tumors are divided into Hodgkin's disease and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) in childhood is a cancerous (malignant), aggressive tumor. Because of the spread of this tumor, medications (chemotherapy) must be given that can treat the entire body. The cause of this tumor is not known. It occurs 3 times more often in boys than in girls.

SYMPTOMS

Usually this disease shows itself as painless enlargement of the lymph nodes. Fever and weight loss are often present.

DIAGNOSIS

A procedure to remove atissue sample (biopsy) is done. The sample is examined under a microscope. The diagnosis is based on the results of this examination. It is necessary to determine if the disease is localized or widely spread.

TREATMENT

Of the children that have NHL, cancer is wide spread in about 80%. The treatment for this illness is a multidrug therapy. It is used in an aggressive manner. This means everything possible is done with these medications to try and bring the disease to an inactive state (remission). Medications produce remission in 90% of children. Maintenance therapy reduces the chance of relapse following remission. Preventive treatment (prophylaxis) on the central nervous system (CNS) is necessary because tumors can hide in the brain and spinal cord areas. With large tumors, surgery may be used to remove most of the tumor. Radiation is often used as part of the treatment.

PROGNOSIS

Patients with small, localized tumors tend to do the best. Over half of all patients will be long-term survivors. Your caregiver will discuss the treatment with you. Together you can make the decision to get the best possible outcome.