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NHL is a type of cancer in the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is part of the immune system. It helps to fight diseases and infections. The lymphatic system also helps with balancing fluids in different parts of the body. The lymphatic system includes:
NHL causes abnormal growth of the cells in the lymphatic system. Over time this causes tumors to grow. The cells can also spread to other organs and tissues in the body (metastasis). NHL is a rare disease in children. It can occur at any age, and affects boys more often than girls.
NHL in children comes in 3 types:
Researchers do not know the exact cause of NHL. Genes and some viral infections may increase a child’s risk of having NHL. Conditions that are linked to NHL include:
In many cases, NHL in children may not cause symptoms until it has grown or spread. Most children have advanced disease at the time of diagnosis. This is because the symptoms start suddenly, and the tumors tend to grow fast. A child can become very sick in a few days to a few weeks.
Signs and symptoms vary depending on the type of NHL. Symptoms of a belly (abdominal) tumor can include:
Symptoms of a chest tumor include:
Other symptoms may include:
The symptoms of NHL can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees a healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Your child's healthcare provider will ask about your child's medical history and symptoms. He or she will examine your child. Your child may have tests such as:
Part of diagnosing cancer is called staging. Staging is the process of seeing if the cancer has spread, and where it has spread. Staging also helps to decide the treatment. There are different ways of staging used for NHL. Talk with your child's healthcare provider about the stage of your child's cancer. One method of staging NHL is the following:
Treatment will depend on the type and stage. NHL can be treated with any of the below:
Your child will need follow-up care during and after treatment to:
With treatment, most children with NHL go on to live long lives. With any cancer, how well a child is expected to recover (prognosis) varies. Keep in mind:
Possible complications depend on the type and stage of the lymphoma, and can include:
Treatment may also cause complications. They include:
You can help your child manage his or her treatment in many ways. For example:
Call the healthcare provider if your child has:
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.