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Summary. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has coordinated a worldwide study of childhood cancer incidence, with data provided by contributors from over 50 countries. We present here the results on lymphomas from this study and other sources. Hodgkin's disease had a relatively high incidence in North Africa and West Asia and a low incidence throughout East Asia. In populations of predominantly European origin, the highest rates tended to be in warmer countries of lower latitude. In industrialised Western countries, the incidence increased steeply with age and was low in childhood compared with that in young adults whereas elsewhere the increase in incidence between childhood and adults aged 20–34 was much less marked. The age-distribution of Hodgkin's disease in childhood appears to be related to levels of socio-economic development but the total incidence seems to be determined more by ethnic and environmental factors. The highest incidence of Burkitt's lymphoma occurred in tropical Africa and Papua New Guinea. Elsewhere, Burkitt's lymphoma was rare, though the incidence was higher in Spain, North Africa and the Middle East than in other areas. In most Western countries, a third of all non-Hodgkin lymphomas may be Burkitt's. There was no consistent pattern in the incidence of other non-Hodgkin lymphomas except for a tendency towards higher rates around the Mediterranean and in some Latin American registries.