Do You Know What Risks and causes of Hodgkin lymphoma??

There is information below about factors that may increase or decrease the risk of Hodgkin lymphoma.

What risk factors are

A risk factor is anything that can increase your chance of developing cancer. Do bear in mind that having one or more of these risk factors does not necessarily mean that you will get Hodgkin lymphoma.

Age and gender

Hodgkin lymphoma is a rare cancer, that can occur at any age. In the UK it occurs more commonly in men between the ages of 20 to 24 and 75 to 79. In women it occurs more commonly between the ages of 20 to 24 and 70 to 74.

Previous non Hodgkin lymphoma

People treated for a previous non Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) have an increased risk of Hodgkin lymphoma. This may be due to the treatment they had for the NHL.

Contact with common infections

A few studies show that Hodgkin lymphoma risk is lower in groups of people who are exposed to infections early. If you live in crowded conditions, have brothers and sisters, or go to nursery, you are more likely to pick up common childhood infections early in life rather than later. Researchers think that getting infections early may help us to develop a healthy immune system and this could be what lowers the risk of Hodgkin lymphoma.

Epstein Barr virus

Epstein Barr virus (EBV) is the virus that causes glandular fever (mononucleosis). Glandular fever is not a serious illness, although it can make people feel very unwell and may last a long time. People who have had glandular fever have an increased risk of Hodgkin lymphoma afterwards. A study published in December 2011 estimated that 4 in 10 cases of Hodgkin lymphoma in the UK are related to EBV infection.

Family history

First degree relatives of people with Hodgkin lymphoma, non Hodgkin lymphoma, or chronic lymphocytic leukaemia have an increased risk of getting Hodgkin lymphoma themselves. A first degree relative is a parent, child, sister or brother. We don’t know whether this is due to an inherited gene change or whether it is due to shared lifestyle factors.


A study combining all the results of earlier research found that breastfeeding does not affect your risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma.

Hair dye

Several studies over the years have looked into hair dyes and risk of lymphomas. So far there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that hair dye increases your risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma.

Alcohol and smoking

A few studies show a lower risk of Hodgkin lymphoma in alcohol drinkers. In 2012 an overview of studies showed a lower risk in drinkers, but not in drinkers who smoked. However, it is important to remember that alcohol can increase the risk of some other types of cancer.
Several studies, including the large European study called EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) and the Million women study have shown an increase in Hodgkin lymphoma risk in people who smoke.

Being very overweight

Research has shown an increased risk of Hodgkin lymphoma for people who are very overweight (obese). One study showed the risk may be higher in women than men.

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