Health Information

Reducing Your Risk of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma

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Since the cause of non-Hodgkins 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-Hodgkins 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 with occupational exposure, those exposed to nuclear 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-Hodgkins lymphoma occurs more often in people who have been infected with HIV than in those who are HIV-negative. Steps to avoid HIV infection include:

  • Take precautions when engaging in sexual activity:
    • Abstain from sex or have only monogamous sex with a person who is not infected with HIV.
    • Use latex condoms 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 chronic immune-mediated disease, such as gluten intolerance, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, are more likely to develop lymphomas than the general population. Although the evidence is incomplete, it’s a good idea to follow your doctor's recommendations for managing your immune-mediated illness to avoid any possible increase of risk in developing lymphoma.

Revision Information

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society website. Available at: http://www.lls.org/#/diseaseinformation/lymphoma/nonhodgkinlymphoma . Updated March 15, 2012. Accessed April 30, 2013.

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated April 29, 2013. Accessed April 30, 2013.

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/non-hodgkin . Accessed April 30, 2013.