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Lymphoma Prevention

Based on known risk factors, common sense suggests that avoidance of certain substances and situations may reduce one’s risk of developing lymphoma. However, since the actual causes of lymphoma are uncertain, there is no sure way to prevent the disease(s). 

Avoiding Infection

Because exposure to certain communicable diseases has been linked to increased risk, it would be prudent to avoid exposure to these infections. These include diseases transmitted through exposure to bodily fluids, such as HIV/AIDS, herpes, hepatitis B and C, and the Epstein-Barr virus. 

Diet and Healthy Weight

Some studies have suggested that excess weight and/or poor diet may also increase people’s risk of developing lymphoma. Diets that are high in natural antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds known as phytonutrients are associated with a decreased risk of some cancers, and lower body weight. One well-documented example of a healthful approach to nutrition is the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes the consumption of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, low-fat dairy, and limited lean protein. The diet also features extra virgin olive oil as the main source of fat. It excludes processed foods, added sugars, and most red meat. 

Certain foods, such as green tea and the curry spice turmeric contain chemicals that may work to help prevent certain cancers. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is poorly absorbed, however, so it may be necessary to consume an extract of this traditional Asian food to enhance its potential benefits. Unfortunately, there are presently no specific data to support the notion that green tea prevents lymphoma in humans. In laboratory and animals studies, however, its active ingredient, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) has been shown to disrupt numerous metabolic pathways that are known to underlie the development of cancer. 


Additionally, evidence suggests that exercise is linked to a reduced risk of some types of cancer. Although no specific link has been established between lymphoma risk and exercise, increased physical activity has been definitively linked to better health in general, including a decreased risk of several common diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other forms of cancer, including breast, prostate, colorectal and endometrial cancers. Furthermore, among patients already diagnosed with—and undergoing treatment for—lymphoma, aerobic exercise has been shown to improve several outcomes, including quality of life, body weight, and mobility. 

Content licensed from:

Written by: Dale Kiefer
Medically reviewed : Jennifer Monti, MD, MPH

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your health care provider. Please consult a health care professional with any health concerns you may have.
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