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Risk Factors for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:


Risk Factors for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

A risk factor is something that raises a person's chances of getting a disease or health problem. A person can have non-Hodgkin lymphoma with or without the risks below. The more risks a person has, the greater the chances are.

Certain risk factors cannot be changed. For example, non-Hodgkin lymphoma is more common in people over 60 years old. It is also more common in men and people who are White.

Other things that raise the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma are:

  • A weakened immune system due to certain conditions, such as:
    • HIV infection
    • Medicines that lower the immune system
  • Autoimmune diseases, such as:
  • Long term infections, such as:
  • Exposures to certain chemicals or radiation, such as:
    • Working around pesticides, fertilizers, and certain chemical solvents
    • Being near a nuclear accident or explosion—even years later
  • A family member with non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Smoking—higher risk with more cigarettes smoked and number of years smoking
  • Obesity


  • Bowzyk Al-Naeeb A, Ajithkumar T, et al. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. BMJ. 2018;362:k3204.
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society website. Available at: http://www.lls.org/lymphoma/non-hodgkin-lymphoma.
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/non-hodgkin-lymphoma-nhl.
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma risk factors. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/non-hodgkin-lymphoma/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html.


  • Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.