Lymphoma - Hodgkin - Childhood: Risk Factors

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about the factors that increase the chance of developing this type of cancer. To see other pages in this guide, use the menu on the side of your screen.

A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing cancer. Although risk factors often influence the development of cancer, most do not directly cause cancer. Some children with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do.

The cause of Hodgkin lymphoma is unknown, although infection with the Epstein-Barr virus may play a role in the development of the cancer in approximately 30% of children and teens. This is the virus that causes mononucleosis or “mono”. People with immune system problems also have a higher risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma. This group includes:

  • Children born with the hereditary condition of ataxia telangiectasia, which causes immune system problems
  • Children with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
  • Children who are taking drugs that suppress the immune system following an organ transplant

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