Pediatric Hodgkin Lymphoma
Treatments for Pediatric Hodgkin Lymphoma
At Sheba, our team of world-class medical specialists is highly experienced at tailoring cancer therapies to meet the unique needs of our younger patients. Treating Hodgkin lymphoma in children is slightly different from the treatment for adults. However, if the child is past puberty and the bones and muscles are already fully developed, treatment will closely resemble that given to adults. With kids, we strive to cure HL without causing other long-term health problems, and we customize every treatment based on the stage of your child’s HL, age, how well the disease is responding to treatment, and other holistic considerations.
Treatment options at Sheba for each phase of HL include:
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells, and it is the main treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma. All children with HL receive chemotherapy, however we will customize the number of chemo sessions based on the stage of the disease. Typically, chemotherapy to treat classic HL uses a combination of drugs.
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Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells, and it can be a part of the treatment program for children with HL – especially when HL is present in only one part of the body. After chemotherapy for classic Hodgkin lymphoma, a scan will be performed to check if the child still has cancer. If active HL is detected, then radiotherapy is often recommended. Together, both treatments typically cure the lymphoma. When treating NHLPL, radiotherapy may sometimes be used alone. Our radiation oncologists have specialized techniques to determine the dose and volume of radiation so that it provides maximum benefits with minimal long-term effects for the overall health of the child.
Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplantt
Children with HL that do not respond well to treatment or children who experience recurrent HL after the initial treatment may require an autologous stem cell transplant (using the child’s own stem cells). During this procedure, diseased bone marrow cells are replaced by specialized stem cells that grow and restore the body’s normal blood cells.
Immunotherapy is the use of customized drugs to help the immune system recognize and attack cancer cells more efficiently. It is sometimes used to treat children with HL.
In the early stages of NLPHL (not classic HL) in children, surgery may be performed to remove the affected lymph node. Sometimes, this is the only treatment necessary, and it is followed by close monitoring and regular follow-up exams to check for any signs of recurrent lymphoma.