A special form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is child Burkitt’s lymphoma, which is common in Central Africa, but rare in the USA. Many children there are infected with malaria and when they get infected with the Epstein-Barr virus, there seems to be often a point reached with regard to the immune system where the immune cells degenerate into this form of non-Hodgkin’s disease.
In childhood it often would start as a mass in the jaw or in the ovary of a girl. Often it also arises in the area where the small and large bowel connect (ileocecal valve). The abdominal mass gives the belly a protruding appearance. Quite often there is involvement of the liver, spleen, bone marrow and the central nervous system. Aggressive therapy by the best team of specialists in the setting of a Children’s Hospital is often necessary to rescue these patients. The therapy might include surgical excision, chemotherapy (as it is a rapidly growing tumor) and supportive medical therapy.