Cancer that begins to develop in the lymphatic system through the lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, is known as lymphoma. These cells are an important part of the immune system and work to protect the body against different diseases. As this cancer is present in the lymphocytes, it increases the risk of metastasizing and spreads to the different body parts through the bloodstream.
Lymphoma is of two types: Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Hodgins lymphoma. Each carries its own set of risk factors. There are several factors that can contribute to increasing the risk of developing this form of cancer. According to research, some of the most common factors that increase an individual’s chance of getting this condition include:
All are at risk of getting this disease, irrespective of their age. However, individuals who are above the age of 60 years face a greater risk. Sometimes, there could be a few exceptions like children and younger adults between the age of 20 and 30 years.
There are some types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that are common among women, whereas there are some that more likely to affect men. Hodgkin lymphoma, on the other hand, is recorded to widely affect a larger number of men.
- Impaired immune system
A weakened immune system or one that is impaired increases the risk of getting lymphoma. The condition is found to be most common among people who are affected by immune system diseases. Additionally, people who take certain types of drugs that can suppress the immune system are also at an increased risk of developing lymphoma.
- Certain types of infections
There are infections such as the Epstein-Barr virus and Helicobacter pylori infection that have been found to be associated with lymphoma. However, it is not fully clear how it can increase the risk.
Genetics have a great role to play in the passing down of the condition. Individuals who have first-degree relatives such as a parent, child, or sibling are more likely to develop lymphoma. Identical twins, especially, have a very high risk of getting the condition.
- Exposure to chemicals and drugs
While the research is still ongoing, there are reports that have linked the possibility of exposure to chemicals like benzene and herbicides to lymphoma. There are chemotherapy drugs that are used to treat different types of cancer. They may lead to the development of lymphoma after a few years.
Unfortunately, there are no routine screenings that can help detect lymphoma. It is essential to keep an eye out on the viral symptoms and see the doctor immediately. The physician may consider several factors and undertake a thorough physical examination before ruling out any other diseases and conditions. Undergoing appropriate treatment at the earliest will ensure better management of the disease.