Lymphoma - Non-Hodgkin - Childhood: Risk Factors

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 11/2022

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about the factors that increase the chance of developing childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Use the menu to see other pages.

What are the risk factors for childhood NHL?

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 people with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do.

Although the exact cause of NHL is unknown, some children seem to have a slightly higher risk of developing the disease. These children:

  • Have had an illness related to the Epstein-Barr virus, which is the virus that causes infectious mononucleosis (also called “mono”).

  • Have acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

  • Have received an organ transplantation.

  • Were born with immune system problems.

  • Have been treated with certain drugs for other types of cancer.

  • Take phenytoin (Dilantin), a drug used to control seizures, but this is rare.

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