Childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma

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Surgery for childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Surgery is mainly used to diagnose childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The surgeon will remove a sample of the tumour or all or part of a lymph node so it can be examined under a microscope (called biopsy).

Unlike other cancers, doctors don’t have to completely remove a tumour to treat childhood NHL. As a result, surgery is rarely used to treat childhood NHL. It may be used to treat early stage Burkitt lymphoma that starts in the stomach or small intestine. The surgeon will remove the entire tumour or as much of the tumour as possible. Chemotherapy is then given after surgery.

Surgery may be done for other reasons. Your child may have surgery to place a central venous catheter. It may also be done to treat serious problems, such as a lymphoma that is blocking the intestine.

Side effects

Side effects can happen with any type of treatment for childhood NHL, but everyone’s experience is different. Some children have many side effects. Other children have few or none at all.

Side effects can develop any time during, immediately after or a few days or weeks after surgery. Sometimes late side effects develop months or years after surgery. Most side effects will go away on their own or can be treated, but some may last a long time or become permanent.

Side effects of surgery will depend mainly on the type and location of surgery and the child’s overall health. Side effects include pain, nausea, vomiting, infection and bleeding. Find out more about the side effects of surgery.

Tell the healthcare team if your child has these side effects or others you think might be from surgery. The sooner they are aware of any problems, the sooner they can suggest ways to help your child deal with them.

Questions to ask about surgery

Find out more about surgery. To make the decisions that are right for you, ask your healthcare team questions about surgery.

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