Primary tabs

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Printer-friendly version

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of cancer of the blood cells. It occurs when certain types of white blood cells (lymphocytes) grow in an uncontrolled way. Lymphocytes are part of the immune system that help our bodies fight infection. They include B cells and T cells.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma can start anywhere in the lymphatic system (the network of vessels, tissues and organs that make white blood cells and move lymph around the body) and can spread throughout the lymphatic system.

There are 3 main types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that affect children:

  • Lymphoblastic lymphoma affects cells called lymphoblasts, which are very early lymphocytes. It can start in the thymus (the organ in the chest that produces T cells), and lymph nodes in the neck and chest, and can spread quickly to other parts of the body.
  • Burkitt lymphoma develops from B cells and often starts as a tumour in the abdomen. It can spread quickly to other parts of the body.
  • Large cell lymphoma starts in older B cells or T cells anywhere in the body. It is less likely to spread than other forms of lymphoma.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma occurs more often in older children than in younger children.

A different type of lymphoma that occurs in children is called Hodgkin disease.

Risk factors

A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing a certain condition or disease, such as cancer. In adults, lifestyle and environmental...

read more


Symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma may include:  

  • fever
  • night sweats
  • unexplained weight loss
  • enlarged lymph nodes, usually felt as painless lumps under the skin
  • ...
read more


Your child will have a number of tests to investigate their symptoms and confirm a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, including:  

  • medical history and
  • ...
read more


Treatment and care of children with cancer is usually provided by a team of health professionals called a multidisciplinary team. Members of this team are...

read more


Diagnosis of cancer in a child is a very difficult time for the child, their family and their friends. You might feel overwhelmed, scared, anxious...

read more

Chance of cure

Many children with cancer are cured of the disease. Children’s bodies have great capacity for healing. Also, huge improvements have been made in the treatment...

read more

Clinical trials

Researchers are trialling new ways to diagnose and treat different types of cancer. Your child may be invited to be part of a clinical trial...

read more

More information

For more information about non-Hodgkin lymphoma, see:

read more

published: Sunday, 23 August, 2015