Are Mono and Hodgkin's Lymphoma Linked?

There may be a link, but no need to panic.


I read that there is a link between mono and Hodgkin's lymphoma. If my child gets mono, should I panic?

No, you should not panic. For many young people, mono is a tough disease that knocks the socks out of them just as they are in the most active and productive parts of high school or college. Mono is caused by the Epstein Barr virus. Its symptoms are swollen glands, sometimes a swollen spleen, and almost always a profound level of fatigue lasting from a few days to many months. Mono is quite a common disease affecting as many as 1 in 100 people ages 15 to 25.

What you have probably read is that Epstein Barr virus may also be implicated in Hodgkin's lymphoma, which is a cancer of the lymph glands. Scientists believe there is some sort of association, although it is still unclear exactly how the association works. If you read about Hodgkins, you will read that one risk factor for getting it is a past history of mono.

Now, let's look a little at the numbers to answer your question about panicking. It turns out that Hodgkin's is a very rare disease. Out of 100,000 people in the 15 to 24 age range, only four are likely to get Hodgkin's. Very different from the chances of getting mono. So, whether someone has had mono or not, his or her chance of getting Hodgkin's is extremely small. Actually, it is far less than the chance of having a serious accident on a bicycle or when starting to drive. So, do not even worry.

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