Treatments for childhood Hodgkin lymphoma
If your child has Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), the healthcare team will create a treatment plan just for the child. It will be based on your child’s needs and may include a combination of different treatments. When deciding which treatments to offer for childhood HL, your child’s healthcare team will consider the:
- type of Hodgkin lymphoma
- stage of the cancer
- number of lymph node areas that have cancer
- child’s age
- child’s overall health
Treatment options for classic HL
When planning treatment for childhood classic HL, the healthcare team will also consider the risk group. Risk groups are based on the stage of disease, the bulk of the tumour and the presence of B symptoms. B symptoms include fever over 38°C, drenching night sweats and loss of at least 10% of body weight over 6 months.
Cancer is stage I or II. There are no bulky tumours. The child doesn’t have B symptoms.
Cancer is stage I or II. There are bulky tumours or the child has B symptoms.
Cancer is stage III or IV. The child doesn’t have B symptoms.
Cancer is stage III or IV. The child has B symptoms.
Children in the low-risk group need less intense treatment because the cancer is more likely to respond to treatment and less likely to recur (come back). Children in the high-risk group need more intense treatment because the cancer is more aggressive and more likely to recur.
Children with classic HL may be offered chemotherapy. Different types of chemotherapy drugs are used based on the risk group of the cancer. They may also be offered radiation therapy after chemotherapy.
Children with primary progressive (also called resistant) or recurrent childhood classic HL may be offered a stem cell transplant. Radiation therapy may be given in preparation for stem cell transplant.
Treatment options for nodular lymphocyte-predominant HL
Stage I nodular lymphocyte-predominant HL is usually treated with surgery when doctors think the tumour can be completely removed, or resected. The surgeon removes only the lymph nodes that are known to have cancer.
Other stages of nodular lymphocyte-predominant HL are treated with chemotherapy. Low-dose radiation therapy may be given after chemotherapy.
Follow-up after treatment is an important part of cancer care. Your child will need to have regular follow-up visits, especially in the first 10 years after treatment has finished. These visits allow the healthcare team to monitor your child’s progress and recovery from treatment. The healthcare team also used these visits to check for late side effects from the treatments.
Many children with cancer are treated in a clinical trial. Clinical trials look at new and better ways to prevent, find and treat cancer. Find out more about clinical trials.
Questions to ask about treatment
Clinical trial discovery improves quality of life
A clinical trial led by the Society’s NCIC Clinical Trials group found that men with prostate cancer who are treated with intermittent courses of hormone therapy live as long as those receiving continuous therapy.