Non Hodgkin Lymphoma Child



The exact cause is not known. Faulty genes may play a role.

Risk Factors

This cancer is more common in children who are older. Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Having a weakened immune system, such as from an organ transplant
  • A history of certain infections, such as hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, or Epstein-Barr virus infection
  • Having other family members who have had non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Having certain genetic conditions, such as ataxia telangiectasia, X-linked lymphoproliferative disease, or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome
  • A history of radiation therapy



Symptoms differ in each child. Common ones are:

  • Painless swelling of the neck, underarm, groin, or any other lymph node area
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Night sweating
  • Itchy skin


The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the lymph nodes.

Blood tests may be done to look for signs of cancer.

Fluid and tissue samples may be taken to look for signs of cancer. This can be done with:

  • Lymph node biopsy
  • Bone marrow biopsy

Your child's body structures may need to be viewed. This can be done with:

  • X-ray
  • CT scan
  • Positron-emission tomography scan (PET scan)
  • MRI scan



Treatment depends on the stage of the disease. The stage is determined by how far the cancer has spread and what organs are affected.

Choices are:

Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. The drugs enter the bloodstream and travel through the body killing mostly cancer cells. With radiation therapy, radiation is aimed at a specific area to kill the cancer cells. Some children may have both chemotherapy and radiation.


Treatment and the cancer itself can damage blood and lymph cells. Transplantation will help the body rebuild these cells. Choices are:

  • Bone marrow transplantation—Bone marrow is removed, treated, and frozen. Large doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy are applied to kill the cancer cells. After treatment, the bone marrow is replaced through a vein. Bone marrow from a healthy donor is also sometimes used.
  • Peripheral blood stem cell transplantation—Stem cells are removed from the blood before chemotherapy or radiation treatment. After treatment is done, the stem cells are then placed back into the blood.

Biological Therapy

These medicines increase or restore the body’s natural defenses against cancer. Sometimes a drug or antibody that is directed at the lymphoma is linked to a radioactive substance. It will deliver a focused dose of radiation to the tumor.


There is no known way to prevent Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.