Who's most at risk?
While the cause of the initial mutation that triggers Hodgkin lymphoma is unknown, a number of factors can increase your risk of developing the condition. These include:
- having a medical condition that weakens your immune system, such as HIV
- having medical treatment that weakens your immune system – for example, taking medication to suppress your immune system after an organ transplant
- being previously exposed to the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) – a common virus that causes glandular fever
- having previously had non-Hodgkin lymphoma, possibly because of treatment with chemotherapy or radiotherapy
- being very overweight (obese) – this may be more of a risk factor in women than men
Hodgkin lymphoma isn't infectious and isn't thought to run in families. Although your risk is increased if a first-degree relative (parent, sibling or child) has had lymphoma, it's not clear if this is because of an inherited genetic fault or lifestyle factors.
Hodgkin lymphoma can occur at any age, although most cases are diagnosed in people in their early 20s or 70s. The condition is slightly more common in men than women.