The exact causes of lymphoma are not known. Several factors have been linked to an increased risk of developing lymphoma, but it is unclear what role they play in the actual development of lymphoma. These risk factors include the following:
- Age: Generally, the risk of NHL increases with advancing age. HL in the elderly is associated with a poorer prognosis than that observed in younger patients. In the 20-24-year age group, the incidence of lymphoma is 2.4 cases per 100,000 while it increases to 46 cases per 100,000 in the 60-64-year-old age group.
- Medical conditions that compromise the immune system
- Autoimmune disease
- Use of immune suppressive therapy (often used following organ transplant)
- Inherited immunodeficiency diseases (severe combined immunodeficiency, ataxia telangiectasia, among a host of others)
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Farm work or an occupation with exposure to certain toxic chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, or benzene and/or other solvents
- Hair dye use has been linked to higher rates of lymphoma especially in patients who started to use the dyes before 1980.
- Genetics: Family history of lymphoma
The presence of these risk factors does not mean a person will actually develop lymphoma. In fact, most people with one or several of these risk factors do not develop lymphoma.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/23/2014
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