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Hodgkin's Lymphoma


Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Hodgkin's lymphoma, also known as Hodgkin's disease, is a type of cancer originating from white blood cells called lymphocytes. It was named after Thomas Hodgkin, who was the first person to describe abnormalities in the lymph system in 1832. Hodgkin's lymphoma is characterized by the systematic spread of the disease from one lymphatic group to another. The first sign of Hodgkin's lymphoma is often a swollen lymph node, which can appear without warning. Once diagnosed, the disease characteristically spreads to nearby lymph nodes and on to the spleen, liver, bone marrow and other organs. The exact cause of this disease is not known.

Does Family History Affect Chances of Developing Hodgkin's Lymphoma?

Hodgkin's lymphoma, also commonly known as Hodgkin's disease, is a lymph cancer that occurs in the lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow and liver. It differs from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma as the cells it produces are Reed-Sternberg cells, which are not present in other lymphomas. Knowing whether or not family history affects the chances of developing Hodgkin's lymphoma can help people understand if they are more at risk.

The sibling link

There is a proven family link for people with siblings who have had Hodgkin's disease. This risk is much higher for a person with an identical twin who has Hodgkin's lymphoma. It is unknown as to why there is a higher risk for some family members, but most researchers believe that some inherited genes make people more susceptible.

Epstein-Barr virus

Another risk factor is exposure to Epstein-Barr virus, which is also known as infectious mononucleosis. People who experience this disease have an increased chance of getting Hodgkin's lymphoma. Some researchers believe that this link also ties to the family risk factor, as most likely children from the same home were exposed to the virus together.

There are no proven causes for Hodgkin's lymphoma, but there are certain risk factors. One of these risk factors is having family members, specifically brothers and sisters, who have the disease. Most likely this is due to some type of gene issue or previous exposure to Epstein-Barr virus as a child or adult, which is another major risk factor for coming down with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

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