Hair Dye and Lymphoma Revisited

The debate has raged for decades - does hair dye raise the risk of lymphoma. A new study looked at 80 previous studies to find out. The results: Hair dye probably does not generally raise the cancer risk but some very old dyes that used chemicals like 2,4-diaminotoluene and 2,4-diaminoanisole may have indeed been risky. Those chemicals are no longer used in modern dyes. So for younger people, dye probably was not a contributor.

Childhood Cancer Survivors Pay Heavy Health Toll as Adults, Study Finds

Data presented at the ASCO annual meeting show that survivors of childhood cancers are five times more likely to suffer from severe or life-threatening health problems than their healthy siblings. The data come from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS), a multi-institutional research project funded by NCI to investigate long-term morbidity and mortality associated with cancer treatment among survivors of pediatric cancers.

Obesity not Linked to Lymphoma

A study in Scandinavia has been published in the US Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2005;97:210-218 (Feb 2) looking for a link between obesity and lymphoma. There may be a _small_ increased risk specifically for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma among individuals who are overweight. However, the authors observed no association between body mass and rates of non-Hodgkin lymphoma overall, most subtypes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma or Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Bigger Babies at Risk for Lymphoma

Dr. Valeria McCormack from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine used a Swedish birth study to correlate with risks of getting cancers as an adult.

The findings include this: higher birth weight was linked to a 17% increase in lymphoma risk and a greater risk of cancer overall.

The results are published in the International Journal of Cancer, online Feb 7 Article

Updated List of Cancer Causing Substances

The National Toxicology Program, an interagency group coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has just released it's Report on Carcinogens, 11th Edition. Published every two years, it lists cancer causing substances and those suspected as causing cancer.

Hepatitus B & C virus are now on the list.

You can view information on the report on the HHS website.

NHL and Links to Pesticides

A big questtion when diagnosed with lymphoma is "Why did I get it?" There have been a number of studies around the world showing links between pestisides and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma although there are a couple of studies not finding links. A list can be found in this article.

News from ASH: DLCL NHL Gene

Good news from the American Society of Hematology gathering this week. Results from a pre-clinical study show that the gene designated Bcl-6 is one with the potential to cause a normal cell to become cancerous -- but that certain peptide inhibitors can in effect inactivate it. Diffuse Large Cell Lymphoma is the most common form of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. In the study, DLCL cells were exposed to special peptide inhibitors.


Staging, in lymphoma terms, means doing all the testing to see what type of lymphoma one has and how far it has spread. Just like in a rocket, you do a set sequence of tests to narrow down to your goal, in this case determining exactly the diagnosis (what one has) so a treatment plan can be drawn up and a prognosis (how is it likely to turn out) determined.

Hodgkin's and Heredity

As a Hodgkin's Lymphoma survivor I have wondered for years what caused it. Was it exposure to something in India? Was I born with it? Heredity has been a big question and for years I have turned to a well written paper by the US National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). NCBI creates public databases, conducts research in computational biology, develops software tools for analyzing genome data, and disseminates biomedical information.

The Importance of Family History

The US Surgeon General and the US Department of Health & Human Services has started a new initiative to collect family history. As some conditions are hereditary, this might help family physicians know who may be at risk for health problems. HHS also wants to call Thanksgiving "National Family History Day".
You can find out more about their efforts on the HHS website.