What increases my risk of Hodgkin lymphoma?

Group of young people

The cause of Hodgkin lymphoma is unknown. But there are certain things called risk factors that can increase your chance of developing the disease. These include:    

  • Gender: It is more common in men than in women.
  • Age: It occurs most often in young people between the ages of 15 and 30 and those over 65, but it can occur at any age.
  • Family history: Sisters or brothers of people who have had Hodgkin lymphoma have a slightly increased risk of getting the disease. We don’t know why this is. 
  • Poor immune system: Anyone whose immune system is damaged or not working fully may be at risk. This includes those taking drugs to prevent rejection after an organ transplant or due to other treatments. Anyone that has an immune condition, for example, Sjӧgren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus may be more at risk too.
  • Viruses: Certain viruses, like Epstein Barr (glandular fever) and HIV, may lead to an increased risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma.

Having a risk factor doesn’t mean you will definitely get cancer. Sometimes people with no risk factors get the disease. If you’re worried, talk to your GP or talk to one of our cancer nurses. Call our Support Line on 1800 200 700 or visit a Daffodil Centre

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