Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of cancer that causes cells in the lymphatic system to abnormally reproduce, eventually making the body less able to fight infection. It is the most common cancer in people ages 15 to 19, and also one of the most treatable.
Distinguished from other types of lymphoma by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells, Hodgkin lymphoma usually begins in the lymph nodes of one part of a child's body, usually the head, neck or chest, and then tends to spread in a predictable manner from one part of the lymphatic system to the next. In advanced stages, the disease can spread to the lungs, liver, bones, bone marrow or other organs.
There are two types of Hodgkin lymphoma:
Children and young adults with Hodgkin lymphoma are treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center through our Lymphoma Program.
Continue reading to learn more about Hodgkin lymphoma or visit the Lymphoma Program homepage to learn about our expertise and treatment options for this condition.
The symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma include:
It is important to note that many of these symptoms relate to causes other than cancer.
In addition to a complete physical examination, doctors diagnose Hodgkin lymphoma with:
After all tests are completed, doctors will be able to outline the best treatment options.
The course of treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma depends on many factors, such as the stage of the tumor, and may include the following, alone or in combination:
Treatment of recurrent Hodgkin lymphoma depends on where the disease recurs, previous treatments and the time since the first treatment was completed. These treatments include:
We also offer innovative clinical trials for children with Hodgkin lymphoma. Some of these were launched by our own physicians, while others are available in collaboration with the Children's Oncology Group (COG), St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and other national and international groups. Clinical trials may also be available through our collaboration with pharmaceutical companies.
Should you have questions or need advice on whether a particular trial would be appropriate for your child, email our clinical trials team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help you navigate your options.
Both classical and nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin lymphoma are highly curable, with survival rates between 90 and 95 percent.
Children and adolescents may have treatment-related side effects that can appear months or years after treatment, including problems with bone growth and development of sex organs in males, infertility, and thyroid, heart and lung diseases. As many as 30 percent of patients who survive childhood Hodgkin lymphoma develop a secondary cancer after diagnosis, primarily breast cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, thyroid cancer or acute leukemia. Many current treatment regimens and research studies now focus on trying to decrease the risk for these late effects.
For these reasons, survivors of childhood Hodgkin lymphoma should receive regular follow-up monitoring and care at a cancer survivorship program. Since 1993, physicians, nurses, researchers and psychologists in our cancer survivorship program at the David B. Perini, Jr. Quality of Life Clinic at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's have helped thousands of survivors of pediatric cancers, treated at the Institute and at other hospitals in New England and elsewhere, to manage the long-term consequences of their disease.
Dana-Farber/Boston Children's has one of the largest and most experienced pediatric stem cell transplant programs in the United States. Watch Dr. Leslie Lehmann explain how stem cell transplants work.