Burkitt lymphoma (tumor of lymph)

Neck | Oncology | Burkitt lymphoma (tumor of lymph) (Disease)


Burkitts lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. It is confined almost exclusively to children living in low-lying, moist, tropical regions of Africa and New Guinea. The disease can also start in the ovaries, testes, brain, and spinal fluid.

Causes and Risk factors

Currently Burkitts lymphoma can be divided into three main clinical variants: the endemic, the sporadic and the immunodeficiency-associated variants. Burkitt lymphoma may first be noticed as a swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, groin, or under the arm. These swollen lymph nodes are often painless, but can grow very rapidly. About 25% of Burkitt lymphomas contain Epstein-Barr virus genomes. Children with this condition may also have chronic malaria. Burkitt lymphoma can be one of the diseases associated with the initial manifestation of AIDS.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Tests that are taken: bone marrow biopsy, chest x-ray, CT scan of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis, complete blood count (CBC), examination of the spinal fluid and lymph node biopsy. Chemotherapy is used to treat this type of cancer; anticancer drugs or radiotherapy give complete or partial cure in about 80 per cent of cases. Other treatments are immunotherapy, bone marrow transplants and surgery to remove the tumor.