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Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma - What Increases Your Risk

Some things can increase your chances of getting non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). These things are called risk factors. But many people who get non-Hodgkin's lymphoma don't have any of these risk factors. And some people who have risk factors don't get the disease.

Risk factors include:2

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Follicular Lymphoma

Follicular lymphoma is a cancer that affects white blood cells called lymphocytes. They help your body fight infections. There are two types of lymphomas: Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's, based on the kind of white blood cell they affect. Follicular lymphoma is a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. When you have follicular lymphoma, the sick blood cells can travel to many parts of your body, such as your organs, bone marrow, and lymph nodes (pea-sized glands in your neck, groin, and under your arms that are...

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  • Being male. NHL is more common in men than in women.
  • Age. The likelihood of getting NHL increases as you get older.
  • Impaired immune system. NHL is most common among those who have an impaired immune system, an autoimmune disease, or HIV or AIDS. It also occurs among those who take immunosuppressant medicines, such as medicines following an organ transplant.
  • Viral infection. A viral infection, such as Epstein-Barr virus, increases the risk of developing NHL.
  • Bacterial infection. Infection with Helicobacter pylori increases the risk of lymphoma involving the stomach.
  • Environmental exposure. Exposure to agricultural pesticides or fertilizers, solvents, and other chemicals may increase the risk of developing NHL.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 22, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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