Screening

At this time, no widely recommended screening tests are available for early detection of leukemia or lymphoma. However, regular medical checkups are important to identify problems early. It is also worth knowing the various factors that may raise your risk for developing these types of cancer.
 
Risk Factors for Leukemia/Lymphoma
A risk factor is anything that affects your chance of developing a disease such as cancer. Having one or more risk factors does not mean you will have leukemia or lymphoma, and having no risk factors does not mean you cannot develop a blood cancer such as leukemia or lymphoma.
 
Known risk factors vary for different types of leukemia, but some common factors have been identified :

  • Age — some forms of leukemia occur primarily in children, and others are most common in older adults
  • Smoking —smoking is a known risk factor for one type of leukemic disease, acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
  • Family history — your risk of developing leukemia is increased if a family member has had the disease
  • Radiation exposure — exposure to high levels of radiation, as in a nuclear accident, increases your risk for developing leukemia
  • Certain chemical exposures — exposure to chemicals, such as benzene, can raise your risk for leukemia
  • Genetic syndromes — some genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome, heighten the risk of developing leukemia
  • Sex — leukemia is slightly more common in men than women

Risk factors for various types of lymphoma differ, but they may include these common risk factors:

  • Age — some lymphomas, such as Hodgkin’s disease, are common in younger people, but most occur in people in their 60s or older
  • Mononucleosis — people who have had mononucleosis, an infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, are at an increased risk for developing Hodgkin’s disease
  • Race and sex — some forms of lymphoma are more prevalent depending on your race or sex
  • Geography — Hodgkin’s disease is less common in Asian countries
  • Family history — your risk of developing leukemia is increased if a family member has had the disease
  • HIV/AIDS — infection with HIV/AIDS causes a weakened immune system and may heighten your risk for developing lymphoma
  • Exposure to certain chemicals— long-term exposure to pesticides and petrochemicals may increase your risk of developing lymphoma
  • Radiation exposure — exposure to high levels of radiation, as in a nuclear accident, increases your risk of developing lymphoma
  • Autoimmune diseases — autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and Sjögren syndrome, and the drugs used to treat them, may heighten the risk for certain lymphoma types

Perhaps the best way to learn about Houston Methodist and our highly trained specialists, compassionate environment and innovative cancer diagnosis and treatments is through our patients. View an inspiring story about Sophie Hoelscher, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma and treated by an expert team of doctors at Houston Methodist.