What are the risk factors for lymphoma in children?
The most common symptom of lymphoma is one or more enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, underarm or groin. These swollen nods are usually painless and may be similar to swollen glands from a throat infection. Your child’s doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat a possible infection before considering lymphoma.
Other common symptoms of lymphoma can include:
- Unexplained fever
- Night sweats
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
- Coughing or difficulty breathing
- Abdominal swelling
- Lumps in the neck or under the armpits
How is pediatric lymphoma diagnosed?
Prompt, effective treatment depends on accurate diagnosis and staging.
Fine-needle aspiration and biopsy are the most common diagnostic methods. These procedures are performed while the child is briefly placed under anesthesia. Our surgeons may remove part or all of an enlarged lymph node, or any other suspicious mass. The tissue is examined under microscope to spot any lymphoma cells.
If the aspiration or biopsy indicates lymphoma, additional testing can determine how far the disease has spread. These tests may include:
- Chest X-rays
- Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scans of the neck, chest, abdomen and pelvis to determine the size of the lymph nodes and location of any other masses
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to identify lymphoma in internal organs
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scans to distinguish scars from growing tumors
- Bone marrow biopsy to check for lymphoma cells in the bone marrow
- Lumbar puncture to detect lymphoma cells in the spinal fluid
Your child may also need other tests to assess overall health and determine whether certain treatment methods will be safe.