Risk factors

A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of getting a certain condition or disease. Researchers know about some risk factors that increase the chance of developing cancer. However, for most children with cancer, the cause is unknown.

What we do know is that if a child develops cancer, it’s not because of something they, or their parents did to cause it. No one is to blame if a child develops cancer.

Even if your child has a risk factor, it doesn’t mean they will develop cancer. Many children with a risk factor will never develop cancer. Most children with cancer have no known risk factors. Even if a child with a risk factor develops cancer, the risk factor may not have had much to do with it.

Researchers don’t completely understand what causes Hodgkin lymphoma (also called Hodgkin disease). However, there are some things that are linked to a higher chance of getting Hodgkin lymphoma.

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Family history

Children who have a brother or sister with Hodgkin lymphoma have a higher chance of developing the disease. This is especially true if a child has a twin.

Certain virus infections

People who have had an Epstein–Barr virus infection are more likely to get Hodgkin lymphoma. However, this risk is very small. Other names for Epstein–Barr virus are glandular fever, infectious mononucleosis or ‘mono’.

People with HIV also have a higher chance of getting Hodgkin lymphoma.