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Specific Infections

These infections increase your risk of developing NHL:

Infections that Weaken the Immune System

  • HIV Infection – The risk of developing certain types of NHL, such as Burkitt lymphoma, is higher in people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS. 

Infections that Transform Lymphocytes

  • Viruses, including the human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus (HTLV-1) and the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), directly affect the DNA of lymphocytes. Infection with HTLV-1 increases a person’s risk of developing certain T-cell lymphomas, and is most common in parts of Asia and the Caribbean. Infection with EBV is a risk factor for Burkitt lymphoma, and rare forms of NHL. 

Infections that Cause Chronic Immune Stimulation

  • Specific long-term infections may increase one’s risk of developing NHL by forcing the immune system to be constantly “turned on” and activated. As the body makes more lymphocytes to fight the infection, greater chances for genetic mutations occur, which could lead to development of NHL. Infection with bacteria and viruses such as Helicobacter pylori, Campylobacter jejuni, and Hepatitis C are risk factors for NHL. 

Body Weight

Researchers have shown that keeping your body at a healthy weight and eating a good diet may reduce the risk of developing NHL. Some studies have suggested that being overweight or obese and eating a diet high in fats and meats may increase the risk of NHL.

Breast Implants

Although rare, there have been cases of women with breast implants developing a specific type of NHL, anaplastic large cell lymphoma, in scar tissue.

Signs & Symptoms

Common signs and symptoms may include the following. Many of the signs and symptoms of NHL are similar to those of HL:

  • Abdominal Swelling - A tumor or large collection of fluid may cause the abdomen to become swollen and tender. Swelling may block the passage of feces, resulting in abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Coughing and Breathing Issues - If the disease affects lymph nodes inside the chest, it may result in the swelling of nodes pressing against the windpipe. Certain types of lymphoma can develop into large tumors in the chest, causing trouble breathing if the tumor presses on the windpipe. 
  • Fatigue and Loss of Appetite - Sometimes the only signs of the disease are constant and consistent tiredness and not feeling hungry.
  • Fever - A high temperature that may (or may not) exhibit over the course of several days or weeks.
  • Lumps - Painless lumps or swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarm or groin area, which may become painful after consuming alcohol.
  • Night Sweats and Weight Loss - Waking up drenched in sweat and losing weight without dieting or attempting weight loss.
  • Central Nervous System Changes - Severe headaches, changes in personality, difficulty moving parts of the body, seizures.