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Old 10-10-2007, 12:18 PM   #1
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Genetic Link to Lymphomas

Hello - I am not sure if I am posting on the correct board for my question but I am a little sad a desperate for information.
The story is this - my older brother recently died at the age of 56. He had been diagnosed with Non-hodgkins lymphoma at the age of 51. Never went through any chemo treatments until early this year when some changes were noticed. The drs. found a large tumour on his pancrease in August, prognosis was not good - they gave him 2 months and he only lasted 4 weeks.

My mother died at the age of 56. By the time her cancer was found (we noticed a large golfball size tumour on the side of her neck), went rapidly downhill .. lost use of right side (arm and leg). Was diagnosed with a brain tumour and lasted approximately 6 weeks. I have since been told that this started as Non-hodgkins ... I hope that I am not scaring anyone with my story but I am really at a loss.

I am a 38 year old female, in good health but I am scared to death .. I already have made an appt. for genetic screening to see if I have the "gene".

I guess I am looking for input on what people see as a genetic link with this type of cancer. Oh yeah - and my mothers mother died of non-hodgkins as well ...

The only symptoms I have ever noticed is the night sweats but I think that this is more hormonal than anything else ..
ANY input is appreciated ...
Thanks, Liz

 
Old 10-10-2007, 01:58 PM   #2
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Re: Genetic Link to Lymphomas

Hi Liz,
I'm so sorry to hear of your loss.
I have Hodgkin's, and from all the info I've compiled, they really aren't too sure exactly about what causes lymphoma. I've heard that it could be everything from the Epstein Barr Virus, to certain molds causing it. I think I have heard of a possible link, where genetics are concerned, but I don't think it's been fully determined.
I think a healthy lifestyle--exercise, healthy diet & a positive attitude about life, is probably the best regimen you can follow. In my case, I truly believe stress was a factor, also. I'm working on lowering my stress levels.....you should, too.
I really wasn't aware there was a test you could have for genetic screening of this particular cancer, but if it helps to put your mind at ease, then maybe you should have it. Chances are, you're fine, especially since you only have the one symptom.
I hope I helped a little.

 
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Old 10-10-2007, 03:26 PM   #3
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Re: Genetic Link to Lymphomas

I can understand your anxiety but I have never heard of genetic links with Lymphoma. However, I think you are doing the right thing, given your family history.

Usually anything that is caught early is more easily and affectively treated than late stage disease so being very alert to symptoms is advisable.
__________________
Husband dx July 2003, advanced rectal cancer stage 111C; myself dx July 2006 indolent lymphoma; husband dx February 2010, stage 2 prostate cancer.

 
Old 10-11-2007, 09:02 AM   #4
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Re: Genetic Link to Lymphomas

hi liz. I'm sorry for your loss. I have been told by my oncologist loads of times that when i have children they will not have an increased chance of getting lymphoma than anybody else. she said that siblings have a slight increased chance (smaller than 0.001&#37 of getting lymphoma but they don't know if this is due to environmental factors or genetics. I don't know if that is any help to you.

x

 
Old 10-21-2007, 04:14 PM   #5
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Re: Genetic Link to Lymphomas

My husband has non-hodgkins lymphoma. His father had hodgkins, his brother had hodgkins and his nephew had hodgkins. I know the docs say there isn't a gentic link but I have to wonder since 4 members of the same immediate family have had some type of lymphoma.

 
Old 10-26-2007, 08:13 AM   #6
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Re: Genetic Link to Lymphomas

I went to my first appt and charted all the family medical history (pretty dismal). Although it's much too early to tell - the genetist/dr. suspects and is looking into the possibility of Lynch syndrome. Lynch syndrome predominately is a risk of colorectal cancers .. but seeing as 100 % of my mothers side of the family died of some sort of cancer (colon, liver, non-hodgkins, brain, pancreatic) - they suspect something strange is going on.

 
Old 10-26-2007, 10:07 AM   #7
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Re: Genetic Link to Lymphomas

Quote:
Originally Posted by scared56 View Post
My husband has non-hodgkins lymphoma. His father had hodgkins, his brother had hodgkins and his nephew had hodgkins. I know the docs say there isn't a gentic link but I have to wonder since 4 members of the same immediate family have had some type of lymphoma.
If they all lived in relatively the same area/environment then it could have been an environmental factor. i know that there is a big link between mono/glandular fever and hodgkins disease so maybe they all had the virus when they were younger. the virus attaches itself onto your DNA and changes it for life. ]

x

 
Old 10-26-2007, 10:24 AM   #8
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Re: Genetic Link to Lymphomas

So if I've had mono .. and I have a history of non-hodgkins in my family .. would that make it more likely that I would get it ..

 
Old 10-26-2007, 12:21 PM   #9
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Re: Genetic Link to Lymphomas

I'm curious, too (if anyone knows)---
Is it possible to have had mono, and never been officially diagnosed with it?
Is there a test that can detect if you've "ever" had it?
I can't remember what particular types of blood tests I had in the past---but, I was sick off & on, for the last 3 or 4 years, with something that both my husband, nor I, could shake. He's better, but I developed lymphoma.
I may never put the pieces together.
I also was around a lot of mold, and I can't help but wonder if that's a cause, too.
thanx. S.
p.s. no one in my family has had Hodgkin's or non-Hodgkin's

Last edited by singer78; 10-26-2007 at 12:24 PM.

 
Old 10-26-2007, 01:22 PM   #10
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Re: Genetic Link to Lymphomas

My husband had mono in his early 20's and he just got diagnosed with Non hodgkins Lymphoma. I am also curious if that is why he has got this? We are still in the diagnosing stages as to what type this is. Might be a cutaneous lymphoma - the knots are on his face. Mono...Wow.. I guess that is something to think about.

 
Old 10-26-2007, 05:02 PM   #11
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Re: Genetic Link to Lymphomas

To answer part of your question Hodgkins Disease does have a small percentage linked to having Mono which is related to the Epstein Barr Virus.
Young people who have had Mono may develop HD within 4 yrs of having Mono. The percentage is small. Siblings may be at alittle higher risk if one has the disease. HD is more prevalent in males than females and males are more at risk of having a relaspe than women. If many members of a family have HD it is considered more enviormental than hereditary. As far as NHL
there may be a small genetic link but it is not proven. It has the same as HD if multiple family members have it it is considered to be from enviornmental exposure. We lived in NJ growing up near a town that had a very high rate of
people with NHL. I do not know if that was a factor in my mother and brother both having the disease or not.
I can only tell you that in our cancer center we had more cases of NHL than
any other cancer. We saw maybe 5 people with Hodgkins disease anywhere from 10 yrs old to in their 50's in a yr. We saw NHL , evey kind imaginable, every age and ethic groug, males and females approx. 100-150 cases in a yr.
Of that group only 3 or 4 died and that was due to other factors including AIDS and HIV.

Hope this helps some. Maybe someday they will find out for sure where it comes from and develop a vaccine for it.

I just recently heard on the news that they allocated millions of dollars for cancer research and those funds were diverted to researching grapes.
I guess it is more important to have good grapes than to save millions of lives.

Take care\
Linda

I forgot to mention that when you have your yearly physical always have them do an LDH. LDH
is usually elevated if you have NHL. If it is elevated it does not mean you have it though as it can be elevated for alot of reasons. It is good to have it done and if it is elevated than the
doctor can investigate why.

Last edited by LINDA505; 10-26-2007 at 05:08 PM.

 
Old 10-26-2007, 07:44 PM   #12
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Re: Genetic Link to Lymphomas

Wow, Linda...
You are so full of information. I find it interesting, your facts about NHL versus HD. You're also very encouraging to all of us here.
I'm tired, or I'd write more.
Did you see my question, about finding out if there's a test I can take, to see if I've ever had mono? I'd really like to know if I've had it, and if it went undetected. I've always had gland problems, since I was wee little and had my tonsils & adenoids removed. It did no good... I was a sickly little girl, and turned into a sickly young adult, throughout my 20's. My 30's were good....then it got ugly the last few years. Enough about me....
Thanks for the info, as always. I'm feeling loopy---long day.
XO

 
Old 10-27-2007, 08:08 AM   #13
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Re: Genetic Link to Lymphomas

Dear singer,
You could ask for an antibody test for mono but I do not know how accurate it would be. When you have mono you have a chronic sore throat, severe fatigue, loss of appetite and some stomach issues in some cases. If you went to the doctor they would normally do a mono screen if you presented yourself with these symptoms. Alot of kids that get mono also develope some
liver abnormalities as well. They will usually clear up when the mono is gone but in some cases they can get hepatitis.
I know that you want to know how you got Hodgkins and I have alot of patients that wondered the same thing. I can say this that in most cases they had Mono or later in life the Epstein Barr Virus. Disease invades the body when your immune system is comprimised so anything is possible. Anything that can alter cellular structure has the potential to cause you to have diseases. It is a crap shoot. Some people are just lucky with genetics and might never have to worry. Unfortunately the older we live the better chance we have of getting some kind of cancer. We had to patients that were both healthy most of their lives. Just routine things that elderly suffer from. They were active most of their lives and remained so. They lived to be over 100 yrs old. The strange thing is is that they both developed some kind of cancer once they reached 100. One had lung cancer and she never smoked. The other some kind of stomach cancer.
I guess if they did some kind of research on young people who have had Mono
and then developed HD they would come closer to an answer. I remember
when many years ago I started to see a correlation between patients who had shingles and then later in life they got cancer. I worked in the same practice for 20 years so I knew these patients very well. When I brought it
to the doctors attention he said your right. We started to track patients over the years and were surprised to see that many of them developed some sort of cancer later in life. My mother happened to be one of them. There were even some who presented themselves with shingles and then a month later were dx'ed with cancer.
I would make you crazy to try and figure out everything you had wrong with you growing up and try to make sense of what you have now. That will only increase your stress.

Its funny that you mention the glands and sore throats as such when you were a kid. My brothers and myself have always had swollen glands and sore throats as kids. When I got my tonsils out at 12 I never had another sore throat and basically never was ill after that. My brothers on the other hand continued with swollen glands their whole life. My older brother when he came back from Vietnam had lymph nodes that swelled all over and they thought he had Hodgkins Disease but ruled it out. He had it the worst over his life, then Don and then me. Working around sick people since I was 21 I developed some sort of immunity and never got sick but one time during all those years. Since I have retired and no longer get exposed to sick people I find I get more colds. I felt better when I smoked, got no sleep and worked.
Funny how that is.

Anyway that is my insight for the day. Hope that yours is fun.

Love
Linda

 
Old 10-27-2007, 11:01 AM   #14
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Re: Genetic Link to Lymphomas

Hey, I had glandular fever/mono when i was 14 so that 8 years ago. Actually my whole family caught it and we were all very sick for about 2 weeks. I was a very sickly child. I had whooping cough, chicken pox, measels, german measels, constant tonsilitis, and had at least 3 colds and the flu every year. And except with the flu which floored me, everything else i felt completely fine with and was still jumping around and wanting to know why i couldnt go to school cause i felt ok. i know that there is a link with HD and a really low immune system but i'm not sure if that is as low as someone with HIV/AIDS or just lower than average.

x

 
Old 10-27-2007, 12:47 PM   #15
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Re: Genetic Link to Lymphomas

Pinkmada,
With HIV and AIDS you really have no immune system which leaves you open to get anything. There is some evidence that the Epstein Barr Virus can increase your risk of HD but not everyone who has mono gets HD. If that were the case alot of people would have it. Do you have HD? I am sorry that I don't remember. It really is different for everyone. Cancer is like that.
I think some people are predisposed to get cancer due to genetic's or some mutant gene in their system.....it makes you wonder why someone who never
smoked would get lung cancer and others who smoke for 60 yrs. do not.

Hodgkins Lymphoma has always been considered a young person's disease but now you see older people with the disease. In the 70's very few older folks had HD. You may see young adults in their 30's but never anyone in their 50's or 60's. It was rare anyway.


My opinion is that with the advance of science and industry ,chemicals, etc. we have put humans at risk for cancers that are enviornmental like Non Hodgkins Lymphoma. Pollutants, chemicals we use everyday that you get on your skin, like hairdyes and such all have a component to cause cancer.
We feed our livestock with hormones, antibiotics and alot of other things that over time can cause your immune system to go awry. All these factors play a huge role in our health in years to come when age alone makes you more
prone to disease.

I also believe that children develop faster due to the hormones they put in meat. When I was a kid if you were 10 yrs old you might wear a size 4 or 5 shoe. A teenager to adult 6 or 7. Now young kids are wearing a size 7 or 8.
They develop faster all over and puberty starts younger and younger. More and more young kids are getting cancers that were only seen in older people.
It is sad but our enviornment is causing alot of these things to happen.
We are more aware of these factors now than ever before but most people do not take it seriously.

Take care
Linda

 
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