Chronic fatigue syndrome, an illness that frequently is associated with abnormalities of cellular immunity, has been reported anecdotally to be associated with an increased incidence of lymphoid hyperplasia and malignancy. This report describes an initial analysis of population-based cancer incidence data in Nevada, focusing on the patterns of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma prior to and subsequent to well described, documented outbreaks of chronic fatigue syndrome during 1984–1986. In a study of time trends in four age groups, the observed time trends were consistent with the national trends reported in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program. No statistically significant increase attributable to the chronic fatigue syndrome outbreak was identified at the state level. Additional studies are in progress analyzing the data at the county level, reviewing patterns in other malignancies, and continuing to monitor the cancer patterns over subsequent years.
Presented at the National Cancer Institute Workshop, “The Emerging Epidemic of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma: Current Knowledge Regarding Etiological Factors,” October 22–23, 1991, Bethesda, MD.