What is lymphoblastic lymphoma?
Lymphoblastic lymphoma is a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer in the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is part of the immune system, and functions to fight disease and infections. Most cases of lymphoblastic lymphoma involve the T-cells in the thymus, and usually become evident with a mass in the chest and swollen lymph nodes. It tends to spread quickly to the bone marrow, lymph nodes, and sometime, to the surface of the brain and the membranes that surround the lungs and heart.
What causes lymphoblastic lymphoma?
The specific cause of non-Hodgkis lymphoma is unclear. Some theories include:
- exposure to viral infections such as Epstein-Barr virus and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- exposure to chemotherapy and radiation therapy
- hereditary abnormalities such as ataxia telangiectasia, X-linked lymphoproliferative disease, or the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome
Is lymphoblastic lymphoma common?
Lymphoblastic lymphoma accounts for about 35 percent of lymphomas in children. It’s most common in teenagers; boys are affected twice as often as girls. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma as a group is the third most common childhood cancer. More specifically, non-Hodgkin lymphoma:
- occurs most often in children between the ages of 7 and 11, but can occur at any age from infancy to adulthood.
- is more common among Caucasian children than among African-American children and children of other races.
What are the symptoms of lymphoblastic lymphoma?
The disease can progress quickly from a few days to a few weeks. Your child can go from otherwise healthy to having multi-system involvement in a short time period. While symptoms may vary child-to-child, the most common include:
- respiratory problems, pain with deep breaths (dyspnea), cough, and/or wheezing.
- abdominal pain
- painless swelling of the lymph nodes in neck, chest, abdomen, underarm, or groin
- sore throat
- fullness in groin area from node involvement
- bone and joint pain
- night sweats
- tiring easily (fatigue)
- weight loss/decreased appetite
- itching of the skin
- recurring infections