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Child Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL)


Child Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) is a form of leukemia, which is  different from the adult counter part. The child non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is more diffuse, in other words not confined to lymph nodes. It is a T cell lymphoma in children while in adults it is a B cell lymphoma. Normally T cells  would kill a virus and any cancer cell.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

This is not the only childhood lymphoma, there are others more rare types. They are derived from cells that in the normal person would be natural killer cells.

These natural killer cells (also called “killer T cells”) are the ones that normally kill viruses and cancer cells. T cell lymphoma is much more difficult to treat than the adult forms, which is usually a B cell lymphoma (derived from antibody producing lymph cells or B cells).

Peak incidence is between 7 and 11 years of age. The onset is very similar to the picture described for ALL. However, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma seems to occur more frequently in the gastrointestinal tract and vomiting blood or abdominal pain due to abdominal involvement may be the first symptom. On the other hand lymph gland swelling in the neck area may be the first symptom. The work-up with blood tests will then reveal the real underlying disease. Treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma requires a specially trained hematologist usually in the setting of a children’s hospital. Details would be too technical here. Your family doctor would be the one to translate the medical terms and the chemotherapy treatment protocol for you.

Last modified: August 28, 2014

This outline is only a teaching aid to patients and should stimulate you to ask the right questions when seeing your doctor. However, the responsibility of treatment stays in the hands of your doctor and you.


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