Causes and Risk factors for Hodgkins Lymphoma
What really happens during the development of Hodgkins disease is a mystery that is waiting to be unraveled.
It is believed that B-Lymphocytes of some people, when infected with Epstein-Barr virus, can transform into a particular type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cells and become cancerous by dividing rapidly.
Reed-Sternberg cells are large-sized cancerous cells that have more than one nucleus and when viewed under the microspcope give the cancer a distinctive diagnostic appearance and help in confirming the condition.
Risk factor is anything that increases an individual’s chances of getting a disease. However harboring a risk factor does not necessarily mean that the individual will develop the disease. Several patients do not have any risk factors.
The following are some of the risk factors believed to be associated with Hodgkins Lymphoma-
► Age seems to be an important factor. HL is more common among children between the ages of 5 and 14. Then again, it is more common in boys than in girls. It is also more common among the elderly than in the middle-aged.
► Epstein–Barr virus infection- this virus remains dormant in most individuals. However, it creates a propensity in some to develop Hodgkins lymphoma
► Impaired immunity makes the affected individuals immuno-compromised and may induce the development of HL in some individuals. Some of the Auto-immune disorders that predisposes an individual to develop Hodgkin’s Lymphoma are-
- HIV positive, AIDS
- Certain congenital medical conditions that affect immunity eg ataxia- telangiectasia
- Taking immuno suppressant drugs after organ transplant
- Autoimmune conditions like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
► Having a first degree relative with Hodgkins lymphoma.