Reducing Your Risk of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Since the cause of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is unknown, there are few things you can do to reduce your risk. Some possible means to reduce risk are explained here.

Avoid Repeated Exposure to Certain Chemicals

People who work around pesticides, fertilizers, and solvents have a greater chance of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma than people who are not exposed to these chemicals.

Avoid Exposure to Radiation

Lymphomas are more common in groups of individuals who have unusually high exposure to radiation, such as people exposed from bomb blasts and those exposed to high levels of radon gas. Therapeutic x-rays do not increase your risk of developing lymphoma.

Avoid Exposure to HIV

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma occurs more often in people who have been infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) than in those who are HIV-negative. Steps to avoid HIV infection include:

  • Take precautions when engaging in sexual intercourse or any other sexual act that results in an exchange of body fluids. Precautions include:
    • Abstain from sex or have only monogamous sex with a person who is not infected with HIV.
    • Use a latex condom and water-based lubricants.
    • Use a female polyurethane condom.
    • Limit your number of sexual partners.
    • Avoid sexual partners who are HIV-positive or use injected drugs.
  • Do not share hypodermic needles with anyone.

Control Auto-immune Diseases

There is some evidence to suggest that patients who have chromic immune-mediated disease, such as gluten intolerance, are more likely to develop lymphomas than the general population. Although the evidence is incomplete, it’s a good idea to follow your physician’s recommendations for managing your immune-mediated illness to avoid any possible increase of risk in developing lymphoma.

References:

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society website. Available at: http://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org/hm_lls .

National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/ .



Last reviewed February 2007 by Barbara Harty-Golder, MD, JD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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