Hodgkin’s Disease In Children

tonsilsHodgkin’s disease or Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer of the lymphatic system, that part of the human body that fights infection by filtering out unwanted substances such as bacteria and viruses.

The lymphatic system consists of the lymph nodes or glands, the organs that produce the infection-fighting cells (thymus, tonsils, spleen, adenoids, bone marrow), and the vessels that connect all of these parts together.

When infections threaten the body, the lymphatic system goes to work by carrying immune cells from the lymph nodes to the affected part of the body.

No cases have been reported of Hodgkin’s disease occurring in children younger than 15 years. Age and sex, as mentioned earlier, are important risk factors. If a boy has a family member with Hodgkin’s disease, he is potentially at more risk to develop the disease.

The risk increases if that boy also has a history of infectious mononucleosis or an infection with the Epstein-Barr virus. Children with weakened immune systems, including those infected with HIV or AIDS, are equally susceptible to Hodgkin’s disease.

Growth hormones used as treatment for children’s growth disorders over an extended period may also increase the risk of Hodgkin’s disease.

There is no confirmed connection between untreated tonsillitis and Hodgkin’s disease, even if the tonsils may be affected by the cancer.

As far as studies go, tonsillitis caused by strep bacteria that is left untreated could lead to rheumatic fever. Chronic tonsillitis could lead to blockage of the airways, resulting in obstructive sleep apnea.

No research has yet been done that could say why or when a person gets Hodgkin’s disease. Genes play a big role in determining if a child will get Hodgkin’s disease, but which genes or genetic variations are specific for it is not yet known.

Knowing this could help potential patients be tested early and more frequently, in order to catch the disease at its early stages.