There are ways to detect lymphoma in children, although a child will have to be tested to confirm the diagnosis. Be aware that there appears to be two types of lymphoma. Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma both have signs and symptoms that can be detected in children. In some cases, though, not all symptoms will be obvious.
Hodgkin's Lymphoma Symptoms
Hodgkin's lymphoma symptoms in children usually appear as an enlargement to the lymph nodes. These are the glands that are located in the neck, in the underarm, above the collarbone and in the groin area. Some patients might feel fatigue, poor appetite, itching or hives. Weight loss and fever might also occur. Since these symptoms are common among other diseases, you should talk to a doctor if symptoms last longer than two weeks, or if they go away and come back with frequency.
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Symptoms
With non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in children, symptoms might include the swelling of glands in the neck, underarms, groin or above the collar bone. The lymphoma might grow in the abdomen, causing blockages and abdominal pain. There can also be swelling in the chest, which causes shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing. Fever, weight loss and night sweats might occur.
Since the symptoms are similar to influenza or mononucleosis and other more common diseases, a doctor might start with treatments or tests for these diseases. Since both diseases are rare, occurring perhaps in three out of every 100,000 people, it is recommended that tests for the disease might be reserved for when the symptoms last longer than two weeks, seem to be severe in nature, or symptoms go away or come back very frequently.
Testing for Lymphoma
Testing the swelling for lymphoma in children occurs as a biopsy. A surgeon would remove the entire node or a part of the tumor. Depending on where the node is located, it might be removed with local anesthesia if located near the surface of the skin. If it is deep inside the chest or in another area, then general anesthesia would be used to have the child sleep before removal. Depending on what type of lymphoma it appears to be will determine how testing is completed, but it is generally reserved only if other conditions for the symptoms are ruled out.
The difference between Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's disease types of lymphoma is usually the itchy, dry skin that occurs with Hodgkin's. The itching sensation is usually more severe than a patch of dry skin. A patient may feel the need to relieve the symptom by scratching at the surface of the skin, sometimes trying to break the skin to relieve the symptom.