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Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Hodgkin's Lymphoma, also known as lymph gland cancer, is diagnosed annually in 15-20 children in our country. It mostly concerns teenagers and is more common in boys than girls. The disease develops rather slowly.

A lymphoma means a malignant growth of one of the white blood cells, the lymphocytes. These divide and form a tumor in a lymph gland. Via the lymph system, this tumor can spread to other lymph nodes and sometimes also spread to organs and tissues outside the lymph system.

Symptoms of this disease

A tumor in the neck causes almost no symptoms, a lymphoma in the chest cavity can give rise to coughing and tightness, especially when lying flat. Sometimes there are general symptoms like fatigue, lack of appetite/losing weight, fever or night sweats. Specific symptoms such as anemia, fluid behind the lungs or pain in the bones only occur in case of an expansion to other organs.

How do we make the diagnosis?

The diagnosis of Hodgkin's lymphoma is made with the help of a biopsy. This means that an enlarged lymph node is removed under narcosis and then examined under the microscope. Determining the extent of Hodgkin lymphoma (staging) is important for treatment and prognosis; this is done using CT and/or MRI scans and a PET scan.

Treatment of Hodgkin's Lymphoma

The treatment always consists of chemotherapy, sometimes combined with radiation (radiotherapy). In recent years, there is a reluctance to use irradiation on children with Hodgkin's Lymphoma due to undesired late effects such as reduced fertility or the development of a second tumor. Surgery is only needed to determine the diagnosis. The chances of survival of children with Hodgkin's Lymphoma is very good with the current treatment.