This cancer, which sometimes is called Hodgkin’s Disease, develops in your child’s lymphatic system. It starts when lymphatic cells reproduce abnormally. Since lymph tissue is found throughout your child’s body, Hodgkin’s can start in almost any part of the body and spread to almost any part of the body.
Two main types of Hodgkin’s lymphoma are classical and nodular lymphocyte-predominant. Each has subtypes, too. Doctors will search for the type and subtype and base treatment recommendations on the results.
This cancer can strike children or adults. It is uncommon in children, making up about 5 percent of all cancers diagnosed in children 15 and younger. It rarely occurs in children 5 and younger. It is the more common among teenagers, accounting for 16 percent of cancers in adolescents.
This is part of your child’s immune system. Lymph, a colorless fluid, carries white blood cells called lymphocytes throughout their body. Lymphocytes protect them from infection and the growth of tumors. The lymph system includes lymph vessels to carry the fluid; lymph nodes which store the white blood cells; the spleen which filters blood, stores blood cells and destroys old blood cells; the thymus, where lymphocytes grow; tonsils which make lymphocytes; and bone marrow which makes white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets.
Your child’s lymphocytes are divided into B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes. B cells protect them from bacteria and viruses and develop into specialized cells that produce antibodies (plasma cells). Most Hodgkin’s lymphomas start in the B cells. Different types of T cells have different jobs from destroying some kinds of bacteria, viruses or fungi to influencing other immune system cells to be more active or less active.
The short answer is yes. Survival rates for those younger than 20 are 96.1 percent and for children ages 0 to 14, 96 percent. The numbers are encouraging. At Children's Cancer Center, doctors don’t really look at those numbers, but at your child and his or her chances of survival.
Each child is different and here the treatment will be tempered to meet the physical, medical and emotional needs of your child. Parents should know statistics will not drive the outcome for your child. Each person is different so statistics cannot determine an individual’s outcome. Your doctors will discuss your child’s specific lymphoma and other health conditions that may affect their outcome.
Hematologists/oncologists are doctors who specialize in blood and lymphatic disorders and with cancers. At Children Cancer Center, they also specialize in working with sick children and their families. Together, with a large group of other doctors, specialists and support personnel, they work to help your child recover.
Others on this team include nurse practitioners, pathologists, radiologists, transfusion medicine specialists, psychologists, radiation oncologists, and nurses with experience in blood and lymphatic disorders, medical technologists, counselors, child life specialists, teachers, dietitians and social workers. Some team members you will see regularly. Others you may never meet.
Your child’s cancer care team at Children’s Cancer Center is part of Batson Children’s Hospital and the Cancer Institute, both part of the University of Mississippi Medical Center. This pediatric team specializes in treating cancers which start in your child’s bone marrow and lymphatic system.
In fact, this is the only place in the state you can receive some treatments. For example, this cancer care team operates the only bone marrow and stem cell transplant unit for children in the state, is one of only four places in the state to offer apheresis and has a blood bank on site to help treat your child.
Your doctors also can offer your child the opportunity to enroll in clinical trials which test new treatments for many cancers. Your doctors will take into consideration your child’s age, the type of cancer your child has, how advanced it is and other conditions they may have in making recommendations for their treatment.
Most of your child’s doctors also teach the state’s next generation of caregivers and do research on new ways to earlier detect, diagnose and treat blood and lymphatic cancers. They know the latest developments in treating these cancers and use them every day to help Mississippi children recover.