Lymphoma Symptoms in a Child

By Prev Info - February 11, 2022

 Although our immune system is designed to fight disease, some illnesses target our body's own defenses. Lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system that attacks the lymph nodes. The many forms of this disease fall into two main categories: Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's. Both occur in children, and they often have similar warning signs.

Lymphoma Symptoms in a Child

Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Hodgkin's lymphoma, also called Hodgkin's disease, causes the cells of the lymph nodes to reproduce abnormally. Over time, this leads to swelling in the lymph system. Hodgkin's is a relatively rare disease, accounting for about 5 percent of childhood cancers and less than 1 percent of all cancer cases. It can spread beyond the lymph nodes to other organs if left untreated.

Symptoms of Hodgkin's Lymphoma

While each child may show different symptoms, the most common sign is painless swelling of the lymph nodes. These are located in the neck, underarm, groin and chest. Children may also experience difficulty breathing, fever, night sweats and fatigue. Other signals to look out for include weight loss or a decrease in appetite and itchy skin. Finally, if your child often suffers from viral infections like colds, flu or sinus infections, it may be a sign of an immune system that is not working properly. Always check with a doctor to rule out other possibilities, since some of the most common signs of Hodgkin's lymphoma can also be signs of other illnesses.

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

The second and more common form of lymphoma is known as non-Hodgkin's. There are several types of this cancer, which attack different cells in the immune system. The cancer can eventually cause tumors in the lymph nodes and other organs. It's the third most common cancer in children overall.

Common Symptoms of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Many of the symptoms of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are similar to those of Hodgkin's disease. These include swelling of the lymph nodes, fever, night sweats, fatigue, weight loss, itchy skin and frequent viral infections. Other common symptoms are sore throat, fullness in the groin area and bone or joint pain.

Other Symptoms of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Sometimes complaints that aren't as commonly associated with lymphoma may be signs of the disease. Abdominal tumors have been found in children with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma after they reported abdominal pain, fever, constipation and decreased appetite. Others complain of respiratory problems such as coughing, shortness of breath or wheezing. The disease moves to more serious stages quickly, sometimes within a few days or weeks.



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