The causes of Hodgkin lymphoma

The cause of Hodgkin lymphoma remains unknown. You may be more at risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma if you have any of the following:

Poor immunity

This affects people who take medicines that suppress the immune system after an organ transplant, people who have HIV, and people with rare medical conditions that reduce immunity.

Previous exposure to the Epstein Barr virus

The Epstein Barr virus causes glandular fever. If you’ve had glandular fever in the past, you may have a slightly increased risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma later in life.

Family history

Having a parent or brother or sister with Hodgkin lymphoma may slightly increase your risk of getting it. We don’t yet know if this is due to an inherited altered gene or because families may have similar lifestyle factors that affect their risk. The identical twin of someone with Hodgkin lymphoma has a slightly higher risk than other members of the family.

Lifestyle factors

Being overweight increases your risk of developing Hodgkin Lymphoma. Smoking, especially over many years, is also a risk factor.Most people who develop Hodgkin lymphoma don’t have any risk factors. In the UK, Hodgkin lymphoma is most common in people aged 20-34 and 70-79, but it can occur at any age. It’s slightly more common in men than women.

Hodgkin lymphoma is not infectious and can’t be passed on to other people.