Skip to content

Lymphomas in children

Lymphomas in children are relatively rare. Acute leukaemia is the most common childhood cancer (accounting for 30% of the approximately 1,200 cases of childhood cancer per year in Spain), followed by tumours of the central nervous system and then lymphomas. Specifically, childhood lymphoma accounts for 8% of cancers in children and adolescents. 5% will have Hodgkin’s lymphoma and 3% will have non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

A lymphoma is a type of cancer of the blood, specifically of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a network of organs (spleen and thymus), lymph nodes, lymph ducts and vessels that produce and transport lymph from tissues to the bloodstream. It is a key part of our body’s immune system and helps protect the body against germs, including bacteria and viruses.

The information provided on is intended to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between patients/visitors to this website and their physician.


T lymphoblastic lymphoma.

“When I was 3 years old, I was diagnosed with cancer: lymphoblastic lymphoma. In December 2018 I got sick and had to stop going to school. My parents were very scared, but we caught the ‘bug’ in time and, together with the great medical team that takes care of me, we have fought non-stop!! I continue playing, laughing and trusting that research continues so that more kids like me have a whole life ahead of them”.

Information endorsed by… Information endorsed by the Spanish Society of Hematology and Hemotherapy.

 Information reviewed by Dr. Rocío Parody Porras, Doctor specialising in Haematology. Member of the Management of REDMO (Bone Marrow Donor Registry) and of the Foundation’s medical team. Barcelona Medical Association (Co. 35205)

The lymphatic system is mainly composed of cells called lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. In our blood there are two main types of lymphocytes, called B lymphocytes (B cells) and T lymphocytes (T cells).

  • B lymphocytes: They make up 5-15% of all lymphocytes and give rise to the plasma cells that produce antibodies and help protect the body against bacteria or viruses. Antibodies attach to germs, marking them for destruction by other components of the immune system.
  • T lymphocytes: They are responsible for coordinating the cell-mediated immune response and are responsible for cooperation in the development of all forms of immune response, such as the production of antibodies by B lymphocytes. There are several types of T cells, each with a special function. Some T cells destroy germs or abnormal cells in the body. Other T cells stimulate or slow down the activity of other immune system cells.

Circulating B and T lymphocytes originate, like all blood cells, from haematopoietic stem cells located in the bone marrow. A stem cell gives rise, among others, to lymphoblasts (more immature lymphoid cells) and from these, after successive maturation stages, to lymphocytes. Neoplastic transformation of these cells can occur at any of these lymphocyte maturational stages and this gives rise to the different types of lymphoproliferative syndromes (LPS). This explains the great biological and clinical variety and heterogeneity of lymphomas. The lymphatic system is present in many parts of the body, so lymphomas can originate anywhere in the body.

The lymphatic system of the body, where lymphomas occur, is made up of various organs or elements:

  • Lymph: is a colourless, watery fluid that travels through the lymphatic vessels and carries T and B lymphocytes. 
  • Lymphatic vessels: these are a network of thin tubes that collect lymph from different parts of the body and return it to the bloodstream.
  • Lymph nodes: are small structures that can be found in different parts of the body such as the neck, armpits, abdomen, pelvis, groin or mediastinum (between the lungs). These lymph nodes filter lymph and help fight infection and disease.
  • Spleen: is the organ that produces lymphocytes and stores red blood cells and lymphocytes. The spleen filters the blood and destroys old blood cells. The spleen is on the left side of the abdomen, near the stomach.
  • Thymus: is the organ in which lymphocytes mature and multiply. The thymus is in the chest behind the sternum.
  • Bone marrow: is the soft, spongy tissue located inside certain bones, such as the hip and sternum. It is commonly called “marrow”. Bone marrow produces white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets See Leukaemia, bone marrow and blood cells.
  • Tonsils: two small masses of lymph tissue at the back of the throat. There is one tonsil on each side of the throat.

Lymphomas are usually classified into two broad types:

  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas. There may also be aggressive lymphomas and indolent (“chronic”) lymphomas within this large heterogeneous group.

Hodgkin’s lymphoma is usually a single clinical entity with several stages, however there are more than 60 types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma with radically different treatments and prognoses.

The most common types of lymphoma in children and adolescents, which we will explain in this section, are:


The Josep Carreras Foundation has a story “The tough baby” aimed at children or siblings suffering from leukaemia. It is especially aimed at children up to the age of 6. If you want to order it, please send us an e-mail to





We also invite you to follow us through our main social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) where we often share testimonies of overcoming this disease.

If you live in Spain, you can also contact us by sending an e-mail to so that we can help you get in touch with other people who have overcome this disease.

* In accordance with Law 34/2002 on Information Society Services and Electronic Commerce (LSSICE), the Josep Carreras Leukemia Foundation informs that all medical information available on has been reviewed and accredited by Dr. Enric Carreras Pons, Member No. 9438, Barcelona, ​​Doctor in Medicine and Surgery, Specialist in Internal Medicine, Specialist in Hematology and Hemotherapy and Senior Consultant of the Foundation; and by Dr. Rocío Parody Porras, Member No. 35205, Barcelona, ​​Doctor in Medicine and Surgery, Specialist in Hematology and Hemotherapy and attached to the Medical Directorate of the Registry of Bone Marrow Donors (REDMO) of the Foundation).

I want to receive the latest news