Lymphoma is not genetic, but a family history of the condition can increase someone’s risk of developing it.
Lymphoma is a term that refers to cancers that begin in the lymph system, the organs and tissues that hold white blood cells.
This article explores DNA changes and lymphoma, whether it runs in families, additional risk factors for developing the condition, and possible ways to reduce the risk.
Specific DNA changes in genes that control when and how cells grow, divide, and die can increase someone’s risk of developing lymphoma.
Most gene changes associated with non-Hodgkin lymphoma occur
Gene mutations associated with lymphoma often occur randomly, but they
- cancer-causing chemicals
Being genetically predisposed, or having gene mutations that increase the risk of developing lymphoma, is not enough to cause someone to develop lymphoma.
However, some genetic DNA mutations associated with lymphoma, particularly Hodgkin lymphoma, can pass from parents to children. And having a family history of lymphoma does
Researchers have identified various gene mutations with links to specific types of lymphomas. Mutations in genes that control cell division and cell death play a significant role in the development of lymphoma. These include:
A family history of lymphoma and specific genetic syndromes can increase the risk of developing lymphoma. There are also several other risk factors for this type of cancer.
Infections with certain bacteria, such as Chlamydophila psittaci, Helicobacter pylori, and Campylobacter jejuni, can
Radiation and chemical exposure
Exposure to environmental radiation seems to increase the risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Radiation therapy for some types of cancers can also increase the risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Exposure to some chemicals and toxins can also increase the risk of developing lymphoma, such as substances in:
- herbicides, pesticides, insecticides
- some organic chemicals
- chemotherapy drugs
- some hair dyes
- wood preservatives
- some solvents
Other risk factors
- Age: People older than 60 years are more likely to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma. People between the ages of
15 and 39 or over 75are more likely to develop Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Ethnicity and race: White people are more likely than Asian Americans or African Americans to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Geographical location: Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is most common in people living in Europe and the United States.
- Sex: Males are more likely to develop lymphoma.
- Immune function: Conditions that weaken the immune system can
increase the riskof developing lymphoma, as can taking medications given to people who have undergone organ transplantations.
- Body weight: Having obesity or overweight may increase someone’s risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Breast implants: In rare cases, people with breast implants may develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the area of scar tissue that surrounds the implant.
There is nothing someone can do to eliminate their risk of developing lymphoma.
But doing some things people may
- eating a healthy, balanced diet
- practicing safe sex
- avoiding intravenous drug use
- limiting or avoiding exposure to radiation, toxins, and harmful chemicals
- getting enough sleep
- exercising regularly
- reaching and maintaining a moderate weight
Lymphoma is not a genetic condition, though some genetic mutations increase the risk of developing it. A family history of lymphoma also seems to increase the risk of developing the disease, particularly in the case of Hodgkin lymphoma.
There are various gene mutations linked to specific types of lymphomas. Mutations in genes that control cell division and cell death play a significant role in the development of lymphoma.