At the Stephen D. Hassenfeld Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, our specialists, including pediatric oncologists, nurses, and wellness experts, can address your family’s needs throughout your child’s treatment and recovery. Our child and family support services and resilience programs are provided by Sala Institute for Child and Family Centered Care.
Some children who achieve remission after being treated for non-Hodgkin lymphoma experience a recurrence or relapse of cancer. To check for recurrence, your child’s pediatric oncologist may recommend frequent screening for the first two years after treatment ends, followed by screenings every six months to a year thereafter. This may include blood tests, chest X-rays, CT scans, PET scans, or combination CT–PET scans.
Your doctor recommends a schedule for follow-up care based on the type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma your child has and how advanced it is.
Children who have had chemotherapy can experience fatigue, weakness, or neurological side effects, such as numbness in the fingers and toes. For these children, our rehabilitation experts at the nationally renowned Rusk Rehabilitation can offer pain management, physical therapy, and psychological therapy.
Experts at the Stephen D. Hassenfeld Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders provide wellness programs for children or teens, their siblings, and their parents. Offered daily, these programs include art therapy, horticulture therapy, massage therapy, music therapy, pet therapy, psychological services, sibling support groups, teen and young adult support groups, yoga, and more.
Your family may find additional support and information from our medical librarians, social workers, and therapists.
Although many children with non-Hodgkin lymphoma achieve remission, or the absence of cancer detected by laboratory and imaging tests, some experience a relapse. This typically occurs within two years of completing treatment. If a relapse happens, your child’s pediatric oncologist creates a treatment plan, which may include high doses of chemotherapy drugs not used previously.
Treatment for a relapse may also include stem cell transplantation after high-dose chemotherapy that’s delivered through a vein with intravenous (IV) infusion in the hospital over a period of days. The high-dose therapy kills more cancer cells than conventional doses.
Stem cell transplantation involves implanting healthy stem cells, which are immature blood cells, so that they can in turn create red blood cells, which carry oxygen; white blood cells, which fight infection; and platelets, which help blood to clot.
The stem cells can come from your child’s own blood collected before administering high-dose chemotherapy. They may also come from a donor, typically a sibling or other family member, or an unrelated person found to be a good “match,” meaning he or she has similar blood and tissue types as the child with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Clinical trials may offer new treatment options for children who have a recurrence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Trials may provide additional therapies for children with anaplastic large cell lymphoma. Most children who are diagnosed with this form of cancer have a mutation in a gene called ALK that causes cancer cells to grow. A targeted treatment, which affects cancer cells without damaging healthy ones, is being tested in children.
Medications called ALK inhibitors are being developed. It is hoped that they can find and destroy the abnormal genes that are thought to fuel this cancer in children and prevent cancer cells from growing. In addition, several other targeted agents are being tested to treat advanced lymphoma that doesn’t respond well to initial chemotherapy.
NYU Langone is a member of the Children’s Oncology Group, a National Cancer Institute–supported organization that brings together thousands of experts from around the world to research and test new treatments for childhood cancers, including lymphoma.
Doctors at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital are also founding members of the Therapeutic Advances in Childhood Leukemia and Lymphoma (TACL) consortium, a group of children’s hospitals and universities dedicated to bringing new therapies for children with non-Hodgkin lymphoma to clinical trial. Your doctor can help you decide if participating in a clinical trial is right for your child.
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