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Cancer Genetics

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

09/14/2009

Question:

My wife has NHL at 23 years old. She has no problem for 12 years in annual check ups. Her family do not have cancer history. I had read that for cancer with significant chance of inheritance or family clustering, the cancer usually occur in young age or has younger onset. However, I also read that NHL or hodgkin lymphoma usually occur in patient with younger age. Is it true? Is our family has significant chance hereditancy or clustering?

Thank you your expert advice.

Answer:

You are correct on both issues; in families with hereditary cancer susceptibility, cancers usually occur at earlier ages than is typical in the generally population.  However, NHL and Hodgkins lymphoma are more common in younger individuals. So, in the absence of a significant family history, it would appear that this is more likely to be a sporadic finding, not a hereditary cancer.

However, given the number of questions that you might have about this, you could consider discussing your concerns with your wife's doctor, or scheduling an appointment with a genetic professional to review your family history in more detail and to answer some more of your questions.  You can locate a genetic counselor in your area at the National Society of Genetic Counselors website.

Related Resources:

Cancer.gov
Society of Genetic Counselors Resource Center

For more information:

Go to the Cancer Genetics health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Duane D Culler, PhD, MS Duane D Culler, PhD, MS
Clinical Instructor of Genetics
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University