Lymphoma was first described in 1939 by Thomas Hodgkin. Today it is classified into 2 large groups:
HODGKIN LYMPHOMA AND NON HODGKIN LYMPHOMA (NHL). In general, we can say that the malignant cells of HODGKIN LYMPHOMA undergo many alterations, becoming very different from normal lymphoid tissue cells, while NHL cells undergo malignant transformation, but preserve some initial characteristics.
NHL is more common and there are 3 main categories in children.
* BURKITT LYMPHOMA is one of the fastest growing types of cancer and most often affects the bone marrow and central nervous system.
* BIG CELL LYMPHOMA can develop in the throat, abdomen, lymph tissue of the neck or near the thymus.
* LYMPHOBLASTIC LYMPHOMA develops most often in lymph nodes in the chest area, behind the sternum and can spread to the surface of the brain, bone marrow, other nodes, and the tissue that covers the heart and lungs.
General symptoms may include:
-Injury or lumps in the lymph nodes of the neck, armpits, abdomen or groin.
- Fever without explanation.
-Weight loss for no apparent reason.
-Chills and severe night sweats.
- Extreme fatigue.
Symptoms related to the location of the tumor may include:
- Swollen stomach, caused by a large tumor in the abdomen.
-Pain when urinating and defecating, caused by the accumulation of fluid and a tumor around the kidneys and intestines.
- Difficulty breathing, caused by a tumor near the trachea.
A serious symptom is the superior vena cava syndrome where a tumor in the chest behind the sternum blocks the flow of blood from the head and arms to the heart causing head and arm swelling. The SVCS can be deadly and requires emergency medical attention.
For the Institute of Interventional Oncology (IDOI Mexico) it is important to remember that sometimes children with NHL do not present any of these changes, or the cause may be different from cancer.