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Lymphoma in Children and Teens

What is lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a part of the immune system. It is a network of nodes, glands, and vessels that transports white blood cells called lymphocytes throughout the body to fight infection. 

The original tumor can begin in a number of places because lymph tissue exists throughout the body.

There are two types of lymphoma:

  • Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

What are the symptoms of lymphoma?

The most common symptom of lymphoma is swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, or groin. 

Other common symptoms include:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Drenching night sweats
  • Fever with no known cause that lasts 3 or more days
  • Unexplained cough or shortness of breath

How is lymphoma diagnosed?

A biopsy is usually required to diagnose lymphoma.

Illustration of a child's silhouette with lymph nodes and pathways of connection highlighted and labeled. Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system is a network of nodes, glands, and vessels that transports white blood cells through the body to fight infection.

How is lymphoma treated?

Treatment depends on a number of factors, including the type of lymphoma, the location of the cancer, how far it has spread, and the age and general health of the patient. 

The most common treatment is chemotherapy.

Other treatments may include:

How common is lymphoma?

  • Lymphomas make up 10 percent of cancers in children birth-14.
  • Lymphomas make up 20 percent of cancers in teens 15-19.
Illustration shows two types of cells as thought through a microscope, one a healthy lymphocyte and the other a cancer cell

A biopsy is usually required to diagnose lymphoma.

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Reviewed: June 2018