Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Overview

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Causes, Risk Factors, and Prevention TOPICS

Can non-Hodgkin lymphoma be prevented?

Most people who have non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) do not have any known risk factors that can be changed, and the cause of their cancer is unknown. For now, the best way to prevent some cases of this cancer is to prevent known risk factors, such as a weak immune system.

HIV infection is mostly spread among adults through sex or sharing dirty needles by IV drug users. Stopping the spread of HIV would prevent many deaths from NHL. For people who have HIV, treatment with anti-HIV drugs can lower the risk of NHL.

Infection with the bacterium H. pylori has been linked to lymphoma in the stomach, so treating H. pylori infections might lower this risk, but this has not been proven yet.

Doctors are trying to find ways to treat cancer and do organ transplants without increasing the risk of lymphoma. But for now, the benefits of these treatments still usually outweigh the small risk of developing lymphoma many years later.

Being very overweight or eating a diet high in fat and meats may increase your risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, so staying at a healthy weight and eating a healthy diet might help lower your risk of getting lymphoma. More research is needed to confirm this.

Last Medical Review: 08/27/2014
Last Revised: 01/22/2016