Lymphoma and Celiac

This article is not meant to scare anyone. It is just bringing to light that there is a higher risk of certain types of lymphoma in people with celiac disease. As a person with celiac, this isn’t something I dwell on. I eat a gluten free diet and due to a family history of bowel diseases, other types of colon cancer, and pre-cancerous polyps I have a colonoscopy every 5 years. I actually worry more about pre-cancerous polyps than I do lymphoma.

Types of Lymphoma associated with celiac disease

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is cancer involving the lymphatic system, which includes components of your immune system such as your lymph nodes and spleen. About one in 50 people—or 2 percent—will develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma during their lifetimes.

EATL is a very rare cancer—fewer than one person per million people in Western countries develop EATL each year. By definition, EATL develops in patients with celiac disease, although sometimes it’s diagnosed at the same time or even before the person is diagnosed with celiac.” Click link to read article

What are the risk factors for people with celiac developing lymphoma?

“|Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that begins in the lymph system, and can eventually spread to other parts of the body.

According to a study, which was published in the Aug. 6 issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

Overall, the patients with celiac disease had an annual lymphoma risk of about 68 of 100,000 people, which is nearly three times higher than the general population’s risk rate of about 24 of 100,000. Meanwhile, the annual risk for patients with ongoing intestinal damage was about 102 of 100,000 people, compared with 31.5 of 100,000 for those with healed intestines. It’s not clear why intestinal healing occurs in some patients with celiac disease but not in others.” Continue reading this article at

Ok, so now you know your risk factors. Just make sure your doctor is aware of the link between lymphoma and celiac disease. It’s not a great discussion to have but, it is important. Your doctor should also know if there is a family history of this type of cancer, a history of any other types of cancer ie: colon cancer, or a history of polyp removal. I had a few polyps removed a year ago during my routine 5-year colonoscopy. I am happy to report they were not the cancerous type. I don’t want to confuse the subject of lymphoma and colon cancer. There are different types of colon cancer. I was mentioning it because I was talking about cancer and one of the main factors in colon cancer can be a family history.

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