Risk Factors for Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

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Scientists don't yet know why some people develop non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and others do not, or why a B-cell becomes cancerous and others do not.

The best they can do is determine whether there are any aspects or factors of a person with the disease that are present in other people with the disease, to the exclusion of all other such factors. By boiling down the thousands of things that we do in our lives and that we have in our genes to a solitary few things, scientists and doctors can begin to determine risk factors.

However, risk factors are very general; they aren't meant to encompass whole populations. At best, they can describe the factors that many people with the disease share and that therefore may play a role in a person developing lymphoma.

Environmental Risk Factors

Environmental risk factors for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma include:

  • Living in or working within farming communities
  • Repeated exposure to ingredients in herbicides and pesticides

Although the evidence here is epidemiologic in nature, it is relatively strong.

Click on the link to read more about environmental exposure and lymphoma.

Biological Risk Factors

Biological risk factors for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma include exposure to pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. The known pathogens include:

  • The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
  • The human T-lymphocytotropic virus (HTLV)
  • The bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which is responsible for stomach ulcers

Click on the link to read more about viral and bacterial sources of lymphoma.

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