Mono Leads to Hodgkin's?

Last Modified: May 28, 2008


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
I have been reading that there is a correlation between mono and Hodgkin's. Is there any screening for high-risk people to detect Hodgkin's very early? I read that there is a 1 out of 1,000 chance that a person who has had mono can get Hodgkin's. My son had mono at 15 and he is now 19. I also read that he can get Hodgkin's for up to 20 years after the disease. What do high-risk groups do?


Babis (Charalambos) Andreadis, MD, Assistant Professor in Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center and an Associate Scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

The vast majority of the US population is affected by the EBV virus that causes mononucleosis, commonly known as "mono". Some cases of mono are clinically detectable, as in your son, but most are not, and so these people never even realize that they have it. Only a small number of people, probably 1 in 10,000, who have had EBV will actually develop Hodgkin's lymphoma. There is no effective screening test for it, as there is only a small chance of getting it in the first place. Furthermore, Hodgkin's is generally a highly curable disease.