Lymphoma Risk Factors

A risk factor is anything that may increase your risk for a disease. The risk factors for the different types of lymphomas can vary. Having one or more risk factor does not mean that a person 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, especially in the 20s) or late adulthood (after age 55)
  • Family history: About 5 percent of cases have a family link

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma risk factors include:

  • Age: Most cases occur in people older than 60
  • Exposure to certain chemicals, including benzene and some herbicides and insecticides
  • Previous chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • Radiation exposure
  • Immune system deficiency and HIV infection
  • Infection with HIV, HTLV-1, HHV8, or Epstein-Barr virus
  • Chronic infection with HCV or Helicobacter pylori