Lymphoma is a term used to describe the cancer of lymphatic system. Lymphatic system is an important part of our immune system. In lymphoma, the lymphocytes are affected. The lymphocytes are a kind of white blood cells. The lymphocytes are an important part of the disease fighting mechanism of our body. They play an important role in our immune system.
There are two main types of lymphoma- non-Hodgkin’s and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The risk factors are described as those factors which affect your chances of getting any disease. Different diseases have different risk factors. Some risk factors can be changed, while some cannot. However, it is not necessary that a person will develop a particular disease if he has one or many of the risk factors of that disease. Similarly, if one doesn’t have any of the risk factors of a disease, it does not mean that he will never get that disease throughout his life. These factors are just a caution so that people are aware of the factors which increase their chances of getting a certain disease and stay away from those factors which are possible to avoid.
Who Is Most At Risk For Lymphoma?
Lymphoma also carries certain risk factors. Some of these are common for both types of lymphomas, while others are seen to be peculiar to a particular type.
Risk Factors For Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Age is a common risk factor in all types of lymphoma. Old age is more exposed to lymphomas however, some types are seen in younger population too.
- Sex is another factor. The risk of lymphomas is higher in men than in women. However, again, there are certain types that are found more in women than men.
- Race and geographical situations are also seen influencing the occurrence of lymphomas. For example, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is generally seen to be occurring more in developed countries. Also, certain types are seen more in Americans than in other people.
- Family history plays a considerable part in deciding the risk factor for lymphoma.
- Exposure to some drugs or chemicals can be a risk factor too.
- Exposure to radiation counts a lot.
- Weak immunity system may be a risk factor and so can being affected by autoimmune diseases.
- Some infections are also known to transform the lymphocytes, like the infections from human T-cell lymphotropic virus, Epstein-Barr virus, human herpes virus etc.
- Some studies link obesity with the lymphoma risk. However, this theory has not been established yet.
Risk Factors For Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- The infection with Epstein-Barr virus is a considerable risk factor for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
- Age, as described above, is a common risk factor for all lymphomas. Hodgkin’s lymphoma mostly occurs in early adulthood and later years. However, it can affect any ages.
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma is seen to be occurring more in males than in females.
- Having a close family history of this type of lymphoma is a considerable risk factor too.
- Weak immunity system poses a considerable threat in being affected by this disease. It is seen to be occurring more in people infected with HIV.
- People taking immune suppressants are also at higher risk for lymphomas.
- Though these are the possible risk factors for lymphoma, as stated above, it is not necessary that everyone having these risk factors will develop lymphomas in their lives.
- Also, not having any of the risk factors does not promise that one will not suffer from them anytime.
Risk factors are the possible points that may affect the chances of occurrence of a disease in a person. Hence, if any of the risk factors for a particular disease are present, they should not be neglected. Similarly, the possibility of getting a disease should not be ignored even if one is not suffering from any of the risk factors for that disease.