Lymphoma - Hodgkin - Childhood: Risk Factors

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 12/2018

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about the factors that increase the chance of a child or adolescent developing Hodgkin lymphoma. Use the menu to see other pages.

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 the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) 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

The next section in this guide is Symptoms and Signs and it explains what body changes or medical problems childhood Hodgkin lymphoma can cause. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.