If your child or teen has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), the treatment team will discuss the options with you. It’s important to weigh the benefits of each treatment option against the possible risks and side effects.
Today, most children and teens with cancer are treated at specialized children’s cancer centers. These centers offer the most up-to-date-treatment by conducting clinical trials (studies of promising new therapies). Children’s cancer centers often conduct many clinical trials at any one time, and in fact most children treated at these centers take part in a clinical trial as part of their treatment.
Clinical trials are one way to get state-of-the art cancer treatment. Sometimes they may be the only way to get access to newer treatments (although there is no guarantee that newer treatments will be better). They are also the best way for doctors to learn better methods to treat these cancers. Still, they might not be right for everyone.
If you would like to learn more about clinical trials that might be right for your child, start by asking the treatment team if your clinic or hospital conducts clinical trials.
You may hear about alternative or complementary methods that your doctor hasn’t mentioned to treat your child's tumor or relieve symptoms. These methods can include vitamins, herbs, and special diets, or other methods such as acupuncture or massage, to name a few.
Complementary methods refer to treatments that are used along with your regular medical care. Alternative treatments are used instead of standard medical treatment. Although some of these methods might be helpful in relieving symptoms or helping people feel better, many have not been proven to work. Some might even be harmful.
Be sure to talk to your child's cancer care team about any method you are thinking about using. They can help you learn what is known (or not known) about the method, which can help you make an informed decision.
Before treatment, the doctors and other members of the team will help you, as a parent, understand the tests that will need to be done. The team’s social worker will also counsel you about the problems you and your child might have during and after treatments such as surgery, and might be able to help you find housing and financial aid if needed.
Your child's cancer care team will be your first source of information and support, but there are other resources for help when you need it. Hospital- or clinic-based support services can also be an important part of your care. These might include nursing or social work services, financial aid, nutritional advice, rehab, or spiritual help. For children and teens with cancer and their families, other specialists can be an important part of care as well.
The American Cancer Society also has programs and services – including rides to treatment, lodging, and more – to help you get through treatment. Call our National Cancer Information Center at 1-800-227-2345 and speak with one of our trained specialists.
The treatment information given here is not official policy of the American Cancer Society and is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your cancer care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor. Your doctor may have reasons for suggesting a treatment plan different from these general treatment options. Don't hesitate to ask your cancer care team any questions you may have about your treatment options.