Doctors seldom know why one person develops Hodgkin lymphoma and another does not. But research shows that certain risk factors increase the chance that a person will develop this disease. The risk factors for Hodgkin lymphoma include the following:
- Certain viruses: Having an infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) or the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may increase the risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma. However, lymphoma is not contagious. You can’t catch lymphoma from another person.
- Weakened immune system: The risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma may be increased by having a weakened immune system (such as from an inherited condition or certain drugs used after an organ transplant).
- Age: Hodgkin lymphoma is most common among teens and adults aged 15 to 35 years and adults aged 55 years and older.
- Family history: Family members, especially brothers and sisters, of a person with Hodgkin lymphoma or other lymphomas may have an increased chance of developing this disease.
Having one or more risk factors does not mean that a person will develop Hodgkin lymphoma. Most people who have risk factors never develop cancer.