Doctors seldom know why one person develops Hodgkin lymphoma and another does not. But research shows that certain risk factors increase the chance that a person will develop this disease.
The risk factors for Hodgkin lymphoma include the following:
- Certain viruses: Having an infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) or the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may increase the risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma. However, lymphoma is not contagious. You can't catch lymphoma from another person.
- Weakened immune system: The risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma may be increased by having a weakened immune system (such as from an inherited condition or certain drugs used after an organ transplant).
- Age: Hodgkin lymphoma is most common among teens and adults aged 15 to 35 years and adults aged 55 years and older. (For information about this disease in children, call the NCI's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER.)
- Family history: Family members, especially brothers and sisters, of a person with Hodgkin lymphoma or other lymphomas may have an increased chance of developing this disease.
Having one or more risk factors does not mean that a person will develop Hodgkin lymphoma. Most people who have risk factors never develop cancer.
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