Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma NHL

  • What is Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma?

    There are two common types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma(NHL). B cell NHL usually involves the lymph nodes of the head, neck and throat, or abdomen. T cell NHL affects lymph nodes in the chest.

    Signs & Symptoms

    In most cases a parent may notice swollen glands, such as those in the neck, armpits or groin. These are usually painless. They do not respond to antibiotic treatment. Children may experience loss of appetite and weight loss, along with nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Abdominal distension may occur. Difficulty with breathing, croup, cough or asthma like symptoms may also be present. Occasionally, the bone marrow or the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord (CSF) may be involved.


    The diagnosis is made by removing a lymph gland or taking a biopsy from the affected area. Other tests may include blood tests, and x-rays to find out if the NHL has spread to other glands. CT scans, a lumbar puncture and a bone marrow aspirate may also be done. (Refer to sheet on tests and procedures)


    Chemotherapy is the most important treatment for children with NHL. For B cell lymphoma treatment lasts around 6 months, involving courses of chemotherapy every 2-3 weeks.

    T cell NHL is treated like leukaemia, with initially intensive chemotherapy followed by outpatient chemotherapy for a total of 2 years. Individualised chemotherapy drug sheets will be given to you outlining your child's particular treatment.

    Follow up care

    Follow up care involves regular clinical examinations. After the first few years the focus of follow up changes to monitoring growth and development and other possible later side effects of treatment.