Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) is one of the two main types of lymphoma, the other one being the Hodgkin’s lymphoma. NHL is far more common compared to the Hodgkin’s lymphoma. NHL is a group of several blood cancers.

How To Prevent Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma?

There is no known cause of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Hence, there is no known way of preventing an Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from developing.

While there are certain risk factors for Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, most of these risk factors cannot be changed, so one cannot be protected against this type of lymphoma. However, some modifications can be done so as to lower the risk of developing the Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. These things include limiting the exposure to certain types of infections and maintaining a generally healthy immune system.

Certain other risk factors can lower the risk of getting Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma:

  • An HIV infection increases the chances of getting Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. Hence, it is advisable to take all the necessary precautions to prevent getting infected with aids.
  • Infection with Human T cell lymphotropic virus is also a risk factor for Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Preventive measures taken in order to stay safe from this virus can also greatly affect the development of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, especially in those parts of the world, where this virus is more common. Examples are Japan and Caribbean region.
  • Helicobacter pylori infection. H. pylori is also linked with some Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas, especially those developing in the stomach. However, many people affected by this virus do not present with any symptoms. The treatment of this virus in order to reduce the risk of getting Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a theory which is yet to be established.
  • Some Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas are even seen to be occurring as results of the treatment of some other cancer. This happens because treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy are used to treat cancers, which can cause serious side effects. Similarly, unnecessary exposure to radiations should be avoided.
  • Sometimes, the use of immunotherapy drugs for the treatment of other cancers may prove to be a potential risk factor in development of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • However, the benefits of these treatments in cancer are much more than the small chances of getting lymphomas sometime in later life. Researches are going on though, to find better treatment options for cancer.
  • Some studies indicate that an exposure to hazardous chemicals like benzene may be a risk factor for getting Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • It is seen, though in rare cases that women who undergo a breast implant, may develop a Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the scar of the breast implant. Hence, any such decision needs to be well weighed against the pros and cons before the procedure is done.
  • Some studies show that there is a possible connection between obesity and risk of getting a Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • Also, a diet that is unusually high in fats and meat may increase the risk of getting a Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • Maintaining a balanced, nutritious diet and a healthy weight, according to the age, weight and height is always recommended so as to prevent various serious illnesses. And Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is not an exception to this.

Though these are stated as the risk factors, it does not necessarily mean that having one or many of these risk factors will definitely give you a Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Similarly, not having any of these risk factors also does not mean that you will never get Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in your life. These are to be treated as guidelines for who may or may not get Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. However, any worrying symptoms should be brought to the notice of the physician immediately.

NHL has no known cause. Hence, it is difficult to prevent it. However, staying away from as many risk factors as possible may reduce one’s chances of developing an NHL. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a treatable disease and can be brought into complete remission in most cases with early diagnosis and an effective treatment.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: November 8, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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