Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the lymph system. Because lymph tissue is found throughout the body, childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma can begin in almost any part of the body. Cancer can spread to the liver and many other organs and tissues.

 

Stages of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

 

Stage I: In stage I childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma, cancer is found:

  • in one group of lymph nodes; or
  • in one area outside the lymph nodes.

No cancer is found in the abdomen or mediastinum (area between the lungs).

Stage II: In stage II childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma, cancer is found:

  • in one area outside the lymph nodes and in nearby lymph nodes; or
  • in two or more areas above or below the diaphragm, and may or may not have spread to nearby lymph nodes; or
  • to have started in the stomach or intestines and can be completely removed by surgery. Cancer may or may not have spread to certain nearby lymph nodes.

Stage III: In stage III childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma, cancer is found:

  • in at least one area above the diaphragm and in at least one area below the diaphragm; or
  • to have started in the chest; or
  • to have started in the abdomen and spread throughout the abdomen, and cannot be completely removed by surgery; or
  • in the area around the spine.

Stage IV: In stage IV childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma, cancer is found in the bone marrow, brain, or cerebrospinal fluid. Cancer may also be found in other parts of the body.

Childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma is also described as low-stage or high-stage.

Treatment for childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma is based on whether the cancer is low-stage or high-stage. Low-stage lymphoma has not spread beyond the area in which it began. High-stage lymphoma has spread beyond the area in which it began. Stage I and stage II are usually considered low-stage. Stage III and stage IV are usually considered high-stage.

 

Treatment of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

 

Four types of standard treatment are used:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy (in certain patients)
  • High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant
  • Targeted therapy

Different types of treatment are available for children with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Some treatments are standard (the currently used treatment), and some are being tested in clinical trials. A treatment clinical trial is a research study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with cancer. When clinical trials show that a new treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment. Because cancer in children is rare, taking part in a clinical trial should be considered. Some clinical trials are open only to patients who have not started treatment.

Search for clinical trials in Georgia.

Adapted from the National Cancer Institute's PDQ Database: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/child-non-hodgkins/Patient/page1. (Accessed July 2016)