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Is Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma hereditary?


Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a cancer that affects the lymphatic system. This system is found in the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, bone marrow and tonsils. This type of lymphoma usually initially occurs in a type of white blood cell, the lymphocytes or B cells, which are responsible for preventing infections, so it directly affects the immune system.

Currently, there are no clearly identified risk factors that cause this disease. As in many cases, the development of a pathology requires the interaction of environmental factors together with genetic factors. However, the existence of genetic factors does not mean that Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is hereditary. Genetic factors refer, above all, to family history. That is, a person who has affected family members is more likely to develop Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Furthermore, thanks to research, it is known that there are genetic variations in certain genes that increase the probability of suffering from this lymphoma. Therefore, although Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is not hereditary, these genetic variations that define a person’s genetic predisposition to the disease are.

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma hereditary

Can Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma be hereditary?

With a genetic test that studies the genes related to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, we can know whether we are at greater or lesser risk of developing this disease. Knowing our genetic predisposition gives us an advantage in the sense that we can control environmental risk factors. These factors can be:

  • Weakened immune system. People with acquired immune deficiencies or taking immunosuppressive drugs are at increased risk.
  • Exposure to certain chemicals, such as pesticides, solvents or fertilizers.
  • Two infectious viruses, human T-lymphotropic virus and Epstein-Baar virus, increase the risk of developing this type of lymphoma.
  • Age and sex have an influence, since the risk increases with age and is more frequent in men than in women.
Is Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma hereditary

Therefore, by adapting healthy lifestyle habits, we contribute to having a stronger immune system and decrease the risk of suffering from such complex diseases as Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

However, if a lymph node comes out and you suspect that it could be this disease, the essential thing is to go to a doctor and have the corresponding tests, as well as a correct medical history. Increasingly, genetic studies are being included in the medical history. It is important to know if any family member has this or any other lymphoma because, although Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is not inherited, it is an important risk factor.

Although there is still no cure for this disease, there are many different treatments depending on the lymphoma and its aggressiveness. It is very important to know our body and our genetics in order to be able to anticipate any strange event we may experience.