Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: Diagnosis
Common signs and symptoms of NHL include swelling of the Small bean-shaped glands located in the small vessels of the lymphatic system. There are thousands of lymph nodes located throughout the body, with clusters of them in the neck, under the arms, the chest, abdomen and groin. Lymph nodes filter lymph fluid, trapping and destroying potentially harmful bacteria and viruses. (which is often but not always painless), fever, night sweats, unexplained weight loss, and lack of energy. In order for a physician to make an accurate non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis, a patient is required to undergo a number of diagnostic tests.
A Removal of a small piece of tissue for evaluation under a microscope. of an affected The watery fluid in the lymph system that contains white blood cells (lymphocytes). node or a sample of the An abnormal mass or swelling of tissue, that can occur anywhere in the body. is the only way to make a definite diagnosis of NHL. A A physician who specializes in studying disease through a microscopic evaluation of body tissues and organs. (doctor who specializes in diagnosing disease by looking at tumor tissue under the microscope) or a hematopathologist (physician who specializes in diagnosing diseases of the blood) who is experienced in diagnosing lymphoma should review the biopsy. This is because there are several different types of lymphoma, many of which are very uncommon, and special procedures and tests may be needed in order to make an accurate diagnosis. A correct diagnosis is important so that appropriate treatments can be used to effectively treat the patient’s particular type of lymphoma.
Further examinations will then be performed to determine how far the disease has spread (staging) and how well the patient’s body is functioning. The Lugano Classification of the Ann Arbor staging system is used for most NHLs. The physician may use some or all of the following tests as well as the patient’s medical history to assess the course of treatment that has the best chance of rendering either a The absence of disease. Remission does not necessarily indicate that a person is cured. Patients may have complete or partial remission. or There are no signs or symptoms of lymphoma, and a significant period of time (usually defined by years) has passed during which there are no relapses.:
- Abdominal and chest computed tomography (Computed tomography (CT). This imaging test provides a series of detailed picutres of inside the body using an X-ray machine linked to a computer.) scans
- A test that evaluates metabolic activity in different parts of the body using radioisotope. (PET)/CT scan
- Blood tests
- Spongy material found inside the bones containing stem cells that develop into three types of cells: red blood cells that deliver oxygen to the body and take away carbon dioxide; white blood cells that protect the body from infection; and platelets examination
All of the information gained from these tests will help the patient’s healthcare team determine the best course of treatment.
To learn about diagnosis of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, download the Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Booklet.