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 (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.
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