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Cancer Genetics

Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma

08/06/2009

Question:

Dear Sir/Madam,specialist and expert

My wife had NHL 10 years ago (she was 23 years old when she had NHL) . She had been given chemotherapy only at that time. Her family members have good health and do not have history of cancer. My wife do not have other disease before except NHL 10 years ago. Now she has no problems and tell to be normal by her doctor during annual follow up and blood test. She has no current medication all along.

We want to have baby. Does my baby in future have higher chance of lymphoid or haematological cancer? Is it useful to save cord blood?

Thank you your valuable reply.

Answer:

When looking risk factors associated with most cancers, it has been observed that having a parent with cancer increases the chance that the children will develop a similar kind of cancer.  This increase is about twice the population chance to develop that cancer.

So, in your situation, your children will have a somewhat higher chance to have NHL.  The population risk is dependent on a number of factors, including race, gender and country.  However, the chance for the average American to develop NHL over the course of his or her lifetime is around 1.5-2.0%.  Having a mother with NHL roughly doubles that, so your child will have on the order of 2.5-3% lifetime chance to develop NHL.  As for saving cord blood, I encourage you to discuss this with your wife's gynecologist or hematologist, if she is still being followed on a regular basis.

Best of luck with your new family!

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Response by:

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