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Cancer Health Center

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Childhood Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Treatment Option Overview

There are different types of treatment for children with Hodgkin lymphoma.

Different types of treatment are available for children with Hodgkin lymphoma. Some treatments are standard and some are being tested in clinical trials. A treatment clinical trial is a research study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with cancer. When clinical trials show that a new treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment.

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Because cancer in children is rare, taking part in a clinical trial should be considered. Some clinical trials are open only to patients who have not started treatment.

Children with Hodgkin lymphoma should have their treatment planned by a team of health care providers with expertise in treating childhood cancer.

Treatment will be overseen by a pediatric oncologist, a doctor who specializes in treating children with cancer. The pediatric oncologist works with other pediatric health care providers who are experts in treating children with Hodgkin lymphoma and who specialize in certain areas of medicine. These may include the following specialists:

  • Pediatrician.
  • Medical oncologist /hematologist.
  • Pediatric surgeon.
  • Radiation oncologist.
  • Endocrinologist.
  • Pediatric nurse specialist.
  • Rehabilitation specialist.
  • Psychologist.
  • Social worker.

The treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma in teenagers and young adults may be different than the treatment for children. Some teenagers and young adults are treated with an adult regimen.

Children and teenagers may have treatment-related side effects that appear months or years after treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma.

Some cancer treatments cause side effects that continue or appear months or years after cancer treatment has ended. These are called late effects. Because late effects affect health and development, regular follow-up exams are important.

Late effects of cancer treatment may include:

  • Physical problems, such as the following:
    • Development of sex and reproductive organs.
    • Fertility (ability to have children).
    • Bone and muscle growth and development.
    • Thyroid, heart, or lung conditions.
    • Teeth, gums, and salivary gland conditions.
  • Changes in mood, feelings, thinking, learning, or memory.
  • Second cancers (new types of cancer).

For female survivors of Hodgkin lymphoma, there is an increased risk of breast cancer. This risk depends on the amount of radiation therapy they received during treatment and the chemotherapy regimen used. The risk of breast cancer is decreased when female survivors receive radiation therapy to the ovaries. It is suggested that these patients have a mammogram once a year starting 8 years after treatment or at age 25 years, whichever is later. Female survivors of childhood Hodgkin lymphoma who have breast cancer have an increased risk of dying from the disease compared to patients with no history of Hodgkin lymphoma who have breast cancer.

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