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worried about distant family member link with lymphoma - anxiety kicking in

(9 Posts)
Mummytron Fri 29-Jul-16 20:09:37

Embarrassed to be writing this really...
My husbands third cousin died of hodgkins lympoma and I sometimes get the panic of is there a link genetically and my children will get it?

I know it's ridiculous but health anxiety is bad at the mo.

Any reassurance will be gratefully received...

SockQueen Fri 29-Jul-16 20:37:45

Virtually everyone will have a third cousin with some sort of cancer. Hodgkin's is rare, and the research on genetic causes seems to suggest that only very close relatives (siblings/children) are at a slightly increased risk, but because it's so rare, that increase is still incredibly small. A 3rd cousin is really a fairly distant relation. So no, I don't think you need to be concerned about your DH or DC because of that particular relative.

As an aside, Hodgkin's is actually one of the more curable types of cancer, and dying from it is pretty rare if diagnosed early. DH had it, and has just celebrated 6 years cancer-free!

Mummytron Fri 29-Jul-16 20:44:25

Thanks Sock
I know it's silly but there we are.
My DHs third cousin died of it about 11 years ago when she was just 17. Was so sad.

Glad to hear your hubby is doing so well!

U2HasTheEdge Fri 29-Jul-16 21:05:46

My children's dad died of non hodgkins lymphoma when he was 40.

I was told by his consultant that there is no reason to think my children will have a higher chance of getting it.

U2HasTheEdge Fri 29-Jul-16 21:06:48

Yes, dying from Hodgkins is pretty rare.

Are you sure it wasn't non hodgkins?

Mummytron Fri 29-Jul-16 21:48:43

I don't know now.

Does that make a difference?

U2HasTheEdge Fri 29-Jul-16 22:08:35

Well, they are two different types of cancers really.

They are cancer of the white blood cells, but react differently and are treated differently with a different prognosis- Non Hodgkins having a poorer prognosis as a rule.

Does it make a difference to your children's chances?

You need to apply some logic to it. A distant family member died of cancer, well you would find it hard to find anyone who hasn't lost a family member to cancer.

I know that in my family a couple of children died of brain tumours and we are going way back here. No one I know in my family has had a brain tumour diagnosis since my mum was born.

Neither cancers are genetic

Some people inherit DNA mutations from a parent that increase their risk for some types of cancer. But non-Hodgkin lymphoma is not one of the cancer types often caused by these inherited mutations. In other words, there’s no increased risk of lymphoma in the children of patients with lymphoma.

DNA changes related to non-Hodgkin lymphoma are usually acquired after birth, rather than being inherited. Acquired changes may result from exposure to radiation, cancer-causing chemicals, or infections, but often these changes occur for no apparent reason. They seem to happen more often as we age, and lymphomas for the most part are a cancer of older people.

That's before we even get to the part where it is a distant relative and not a parent.

So if I'm not worried about my children dying from it when their dad did then logically you shouldn't be worrying that your children will die from it because a distant relative did.

Now I know anxiety doesn't work on logic, but you need to look for the evidence to support your fears, is there any? No, but there is evidence that disproves your fears, meaning it is 'just' anxiety.

Please get some CBT if you haven't already. I have health anxiety BTW.


Mummytron Fri 29-Jul-16 23:09:08

Thank you so much for taking time to do such a detailed answer.
Of course you're right but reassurance is nice!
I'm in the process of getting CBT although I've had it before so I'm pretty clued up. Can't change how I am!
Thanks again 🙂

Wolfiefan Fri 29-Jul-16 23:15:01

You can change! Your brain is powerful. You can alter your thought processes and stop negative spirals. Not easy though.

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