Unfortunately, there is no decisive answer on how to prevent lymphoma. The main reason for this is that we do not have complete information about the exact causes of lymphoma.
However, understanding lymphoma risk factors can play a significant role in reducing the chances of developing lymphoma. In addition, based on this information, high-risk individuals can make informed decisions regarding their healthcare and lifestyle.
Gaining a better understanding of lymphoma risk factors goes a long way in getting relevant answers to questions such as 'how to reduce risk of lymphoma.' Also, these risk factors can be categorized into Hodgkin's lymphoma risk factors and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma risk factors, depending on the type of lymphoma.
Here are some common lymphoma cancer risk factors that can help in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Lymphoma age risk is an aspect that cannot be ignored easily. While non-Hodgkin lymphoma affects people between the ages of 60 and 80, Hodgkin lymphoma affects people over the age of 65 and people between the ages of 20 and 30.
Another known lymphoma risk factor is having an impaired immune system. The human immune system is designed to fight against all kinds of infections, and any disruption in this protective layer can increase the risk of developing cancer. A weakened immune system can result from autoimmune diseases, HIV infection, organ transplants, or cancer treatments.
Certain infections may also serve as an important lymphoma risk factor. While some of these infections can hamper an individual's immune system, others can damage the DNA of normal cells.
Some infections that are associated with the risk of developing lymphoma are Epstein-Barr virus, Human T-cell Lymphotropic Virus type 1 (HTLV-1), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and Helicobacter pylori.
However, it is important to note that not all patients with these infections get lymphoma; it just increases their chances of developing it.
Lymphoma genetic risk is another aspect to be noted when it comes to lymphoma causes and risk factors. An individual with a close relative, such as siblings or parents, is in a higher risk bracket of developing lymphoma.
Though the direct relationship between genetics and lymphoma has not been properly understood, experts believe that genetic mutations do fall under common lymphoma risk factors.
For example, the gene MYC undergoes mutation in Burkitt lymphoma, while the BCL-2 gene undergoes mutation in follicular lymphoma.
Autoimmune diseases refer to conditions where the human immune system gets confused and attacks only the body's healthy tissues and cells. Though the association between autoimmune diseases and the risk of developing lymphoma is not completely understood, there are a few explanations.
As per experts, since autoimmune diseases weaken an individual's immune system through chronic inflammation, which, in turn increases the risk of lymphoma. Also, some of these autoimmune diseases are caused by genetic mutations, which again contribute to a high risk for lymphoma.
Excessive chemical exposure can result in the damage or mutation of human cells' DNA and even disrupt the body's immune system. This can further lead to the development of cancerous cells, increasing the risk of lymphoma.
A few chemicals that have been associated with B-cell lymphoma risk factors are benzene, pesticides, chlorophenols, and organic solvents.
Radiation exposure is also a potential risk factor for lymphoma as it can cause DNA mutations in health cells. Radiation exposure can either directly cause harm to the cell's DNA or lead to the production of free radicals through interaction with water molecules present in the cells, which in turn can damage the DNA.
Previous cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy, can cause damage to nearby healthy cells. Thus, experts count previous cancer treatments as potential lymphoma risk factors as well.
However, the risk of developing this cancer depends significantly on the dose, type, and duration of the lymphoma treatment.
Genetic factors such as inherited mutations, certain genetic syndromes, such as Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, and having a family history also add to the risk of getting lymphoma. These genetic factors can lead to mutations, increasing the chances of developing cancer.
Though there are no definitive ways of preventing lymphoma, adopting certain measures can surely help reduce the risk of developing cancer.
Smoking can have an adverse effect on the genetics of healthy cells, increasing the chances of cancer development. Thus, it is recommended to quit smoking as a potential lymphoma cancer prevention strategy.
A potential lymphoma prevention diet should include a balance of fruits, whole grains, and nuts while limiting the intake of processed meats and sugary drinks.
As excessive alcohol consumption can weaken an individual's immune system, it is recommended to limit its consumption to reduce the risk of lymphoma.
Certain infections associated with lymphoma, such as Epstein-Barr virus or Hepatitis C virus (HCV), can hamper the healthy DNA of the cells; treating them can help in potential lymphoma prevention as well.
Minimizing excessive exposure to toxic chemicals, such as benzene, can also help reduce the risk of developing lymphoma.
As radiation exposure can damage the DNA structure of healthy cells, leading to an increased risk of lymphoma, it is often recommended to limit radiation exposure as much as possible.
As lymphoma affects the lymphatic system, an important part of the immune system, experts advise making efforts to maintain a healthy immune system for potential lymphoma prevention.
Excessive weight can also increase the risk of getting lymphoma, as it can lead to problems affecting an individual's healthy immune system. Thus, maintaining a healthy weight can go a long way toward possible lymphoma prevention.
Staying physically active while exercising regularly is also considered effective in reducing the risk of developing lymphoma.
Having complete information about lymphoma risk factors can help increase survival rates among patients. Thus, every person should pay attention to these possible lymphoma causes and risk factors. Also, the appearance of any of the lymphoma symptoms and identification with any of the lymphoma risk factors should not be ignored, and one must consult a doctor immediately.