Hodgkin's Lymphoma -- Child

Hodgkin's lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph system. The lymph system is a series of tubes and nodes that run through the body. It contains a fluid that helps fight infections and move waste out of the body. The cancer starts in a type of lymph cell called a lymphocyte. These cells spread throughout the lymph system. Eventually, the cells will make it harder for your body to fight infections. It is considered a very treatable form of cancer.

  • Causes

    The exact cause is not known. A combination of genetic and environmental factors may play a role.

  • Definition

    Hodgkin's lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph system. The lymph system is a series of tubes and nodes that run through the body. It contains a fluid that helps fight infections and move waste out of the body.

    The cancer starts in a type of lymph cell called a lymphocyte. These cells spread throughout the lymph system. Eventually, the cells will make it harder for your body to fight infections. It is considered a very treatable form of cancer.

    The Lymphatic System
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  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will also be done. The doctor will examine your child’s lymph nodes. Most swollen lymph nodes result from infection, not cancer.

    If swelling persists, the doctor may order blood tests to evaluate the liver and blood. The diagnosis will be confirmed by taking a sample of tissue and examining it for the presence of cancer or other abnormalities. The tissue samples will be taken through biopsies such as:

    • Lymph node biopsy—piece of lymph node removed for examination under a microscope
    • Bone marrow biopsy—a needle is inserted into a bone to sample the marrow cells with areexamed under a microscope

    Imaging studies are used to evaluate lymph nodes and other tissues that may be affected. These may include:

    • CT scan
    • PET scan
    • Lymphangiogram

  • Prevention

    There are no current guidelines to prevent Hodgkin's lymphoma because it is not known what causes it.

  • Risk Factors

    Hodgkins is more likely to occur in males and people between ages 15-40 years, or over 55 years. Other factors that may increase your chance of Hodgkins lymphoma include:

    • Family history of Hodgkin’s lymphoma
    • History of Epstein-Barr virus the virus that causes mononucleosis
    • Weakened immune system such as HIV/AIDS
    • Exposure to certain chemicals such as formaldehyde

  • Symptoms

    Hodgkin's lymphoma may cause:

    • Painless swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, armpit, groin, or chest
    • Fatigue
    • Night sweating
    • Coughing
    • Unexplained fever
    • Weight loss
    • Itching
    • Decreased appetite

    These symptoms can be caused by other less serious conditions. Tell the doctor if your child has any of these symptoms.

  • Treatment

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

    The healthcare team will work to make a treatment plan for your child. Treatment options may include: