What Are the Risk Factors for Lymphoma?

A risk factor is something that may increase your risk for a disease. Having one or more risk factors does not mean you will develop lymphoma. Most people who have risk factors never develop the disease.

Hodgkin lymphoma risk factors include:

  • Previous infection with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection or mononucleosis
  • Weakened immune system
  • Age: Hodgkin lymphoma occurs most often in early adulthood (between ages 15-40, and especially in the 20s) or late adulthood (after age 55).
  • Family history: About 5% of cases have a family link.
  • Exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service in the Vietnam War

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma risk factors include:

  • Age: Most cases occur in people older than 60.
  • Exposure to certain chemicals, such as benzene, herbicides and pesticides, including exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service in the Vietnam War
  • Previous chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • Radiation exposure
  • Immune system deficiency and HIV infection
  • Infection with HIV, HTLV-1HHV8 or Epstein-Barr virus
  • Chronic infection with HCV or Helicobacter pylori

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