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  • What is Non-Hodgkin lymphoma?
    • Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas are a group of cancers that start in lymphoid tissue, also called lymph or lymphatic tissue.

      There are many different types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that can be divided into aggressive (fast-growing) and indolent (slow-growing) types. It is formed from either B-cells or T-cells.

  • What are the risk factors for Non-Hodgkin lymphoma?
    • The causes of Non-Hodgkin lymphomas are mostly unknown. Specific viruses, immune deficiency, and specific autoimmune conditions have been implicated in increased risk. However, some environmental issues, including exposures to pesticides and solvents, are also being investigated.

      Most patients with Non-Hodgkin lymphomas have no known risk factors; however, a few risk factors that may make a person more likely to get Non-Hodgkin lymphomas have been determined. These factors include:

    • * Age: Getting older is a strong risk factor for this disease; most cases occur in people aged 60 years or older.
    • * Exposure to Certain Chemicals: Some studies have suggested that chemicals such as benzene and certain herbicides and insecticides may be linked with an increased risk for Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. More research is needed to determine the validity of these studies.
    • * Treatment with Chemotherapy Drugs: Some chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancers can increase the risk for Non-Hodgkin lymphomas many years later.
    • * Weakened Immune Systems: People with weakened immune systems are at increased risk for Non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Sometimes children are born with a dysfunctional immune system. These children have a higher risk for developing Non-Hodgkin lymphomas in childhood or as young adults.
    • * Autoimmune Diseases: Some autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have been linked to an increased risk for Non-Hodgkin lymphomas.
    • * Certain Infections: such as, HIV infection (also known as the AIDS virus), HTLV-1 (a virus in the same family as HIV), Epstein-Barr virus (mainly in patients infected with HIV), Helicobacter pylori (a type of bacteria that causes stomach ulcers)
    • * Body Weight and Diet: Being very overweight (obese) might increase the risk for Non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Some studies have suggested that a diet high in vegetables may lower the risk for Non-Hodgkin lymphomas; more research is needed to confirm this.
    • * Radiation Exposure
      • * Atomic bomb explosions: Very high levels of radiation have been caused by atomic bomb explosions (such as those in Japan during World War II). People, especially children, who survive atomic bomb explosions are at increased risk of leukemia.
      • * Radiation therapy: Another source of exposure to high levels of radiation is medical treatment for cancer and other conditions. Radiation therapy can increase the risk of leukemia.
      • * Diagnostic x-rays: Dental x-rays and other diagnostic x-rays (such as CT scans) expose people to much lower levels of radiation. It's not known yet whether this low level of radiation to children or adults is linked to leukemia. Researchers are studying whether having many x-rays may increase the risk of leukemia. They are also studying whether CT scans during childhood are linked with increased risk of developing leukemia.

Last Revised: January 28, 2014


Data Query

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Cancer Data:
Access the Non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer data in the WI EPHT online database. Review the Data Details below to learn about interpreting the data.

The WI EPHT online database has data about other specific cancers:

Data Details

What is the data source?

The website provides data from the Wisconsin Cancer Reporting System, which is maintained by the Office of Health Informatics, Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

How does WI EPHT measure cancer?

The WI EPHT website includes the following measures:

  • counts for each cancer type
  • age adjusted rate for each cancer type

What are some considerations for interpreting the data?

While significant effort is made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the data, there are limitations that are listed below:

  • Reporting may be less complete from rural versus urban areas of the state.
  • Reporting may be less complete for cases where diagnosis and/or treatment occurs in a different state.
  • Reporting completeness is different depending on the type of cancer.

There are many factors that can contribute to a disease and should be considered when interpreting the data. Some of these include:

  • Demographics, e.g., race, gender, age
  • Socioeconomic Status, e.g., income level, education
  • Geographic, e.g., urban vs. rural
  • Changes in the medical field, e.g., diagnosis patterns, reporting requirements
  • Individual behavior, e.g., diet, smoking