Lymphoma in Children


It is very rare for a child to be diagnosed with cancer. To be diagnosed with a subtype of lymphoma is extraordinarily rare.

Lymphoma in Children: The Statistics

The National Cancer Institute offers some fast facts for pediatric NHLs:

  • There are approximately 800 cases of lymphoma diagnosed among children under the age of 20 in the US annually.
  • This represents about 7 percent of all childhood cancers.
  • It also qualifies it for the third most common cancer in children.
  • Very rarely are children under 3 years old found to have an NHL; typically NHLs are diagnosed in the second decade of a child's life.
  • NHLs are slightly more common in boys than girls, and more common in white people than black people.

Pediatric Non-Hodgkin's Lymphomas

Generally, three subtypes of NHLs are diagnosed in children:

  • Diffuse, Small Noncleaved-Cell/Burkitt's Lymphoma: Aggressive, mature B-cell diseases, they are the most commonly diagnosed pediatric non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, accounting for about 50 percent.
  • Lymphoblastic Lymphoma: This disease accounts for about 30 percent of pediatric NHLs and tends to be precursor T-cell lymphoma more often than precursor B-cell lymphoma. Lymphoblastic lymphoma and childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia are regarded as being different manifestations of the same disease. It is almost always found in the central nervous system and the bone marrow.
  • Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma: These are mature T-cell or null-cell lymphomas representing a group of heterogeneous diseases.

Generally speaking, the cure rate (meaning the relative five-year survival rate) among children with an NHL is around 80 percent, but that figure can be influenced by a variety of prognostic factors.

Pediatric Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Pediatric Hodgkin's lymphoma accounts for 6 percent of childhood cancers. Kids between the ages of 15-19 are the highest risk age group for childhood Hodgkin's, and the incidence is slightly higher in girls at that age than it is in boys.

Currently it has a cure rate of 90 to 95 percent.

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