- How is non-Hodgkin lymphoma treated in children?
- Surgery for non-Hodgkin lymphoma in children
- Radiation therapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma in children
- Chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma in children
- Monoclonal antibodies for non-Hodgkin lymphoma in children
- High-dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplant for non-Hodgkin lymphoma in children
- Clinical trials for non-Hodgkin lymphoma in children
- Complementary and alternative therapies for non-Hodgkin lymphoma in children
- Treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma by type and stage
- More treatment information about non-Hodgkin lymphoma in children
How is non-Hodgkin lymphoma treated in children?
General treatment information
Children and teens with lymphoma and their families have special needs. These needs can be met best by cancer centers for children and teens, working closely with the child’s primary care doctor. Treatment in these centers gives you the advantage of having teams of specialists who know the differences between cancers in adults and those in children and teens, as well as the unique needs of younger people with cancer.
For childhood lymphomas, this team is typically led by a pediatric oncologist, a doctor who uses chemotherapy and other medicines to treat children’s cancers. Many other specialists may be involved in your child’s care as well, including nurse practitioners, nurses, psychologists, social workers, rehabilitation specialists, and other health professionals.
After lymphoma is diagnosed and tests have been done to determine its stage, your child’s cancer care team will discuss the treatment options with you. The most important factors in choosing a treatment include the type and stage of the cancer, although other factors may also play a role.
Chemotherapy is the main treatment for all children with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, because it can reach all parts of the body and kill lymphoma cells wherever they may be. Even if the lymphoma appears to be limited to a single swollen lymph node, non-Hodgkin lymphoma in a child has often spread by the time it is diagnosed. Lymphoma cells are probably in other organs, but these are too small to be felt by the doctor or seen on imaging tests.
The intensive treatment for childhood lymphoma can possibly cause serious side effects. Before treatment starts, it’s a good idea to ask the pediatric cancer care team about the side effects your child might develop. They can tell you about common side effects, how long they might last, and how serious they might be.
Other types of treatment, such as surgery and radiation, play a much smaller role in treating childhood lymphoma. The next few sections describe the types of treatments used for non-Hodgkin lymphoma in children. This is followed by a description of the most common approaches used based on the type and stage (extent) of the lymphoma.
Last Medical Review: 10/09/2012
Last Revised: 01/17/2013