Blood is drawn for various tests such as to evaluate the function and performance of blood cells and important organs, such as the liver and kidneys to determine certain blood chemicals or enzymes and to learn more about lymphoma subtypes.
If there is a swelling (also called lump or mass), a sample of tissue from the swelling will be removed for examination by a pathologist (a physician who specializes in diagnosing diseases by looking at cells and tissues) then the tissue sample will be examined with a microscope. The pathologist's report will specify whether the tissue is lymphoma and the type and subset of lymphoma.
If there is no palpable mass in the presence of persistent symptoms, imaging studies will likely be carried out in order to determine whether a mass is present and, if so, how then to direct a biopsy.
- X-rays: In certain parts of the body, such as the chest, a simple X-ray can sometimes detect lymphoma.
- Computed Tomography (CT) scan: This imaging procedure provides a three-dimensional view and much greater detail and may detect enlarged lymph nodes and other masses anywhere in the body.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan: Similar to the CT scan, MRI gives three-dimensional images with excellent detail. MRI provides better definition than CT scan in certain parts of the body, especially the brain and the spinal cord.
- Lymphangiogram: This approach, which provides an image of the lymphatic system by tracing a dye that moves though the system, has essentially been replaced by CT scan, MRI, or PET.
- Positron-emission tomographic (PET) scan: A tiny amount of a radioactive substance is injected into the body and then traced on the PET scan. Sites of radioactivity on the scan indicate areas of increased metabolic activity, which implies the presence of a tumor.
BONE MARROW EXAMINATION
Most of the time, an examination of the bone marrow is necessary to see if the marrow is affected by the lymphoma. This is done by collecting a biopsy of the bone marrow.
- Lumbar puncture: This test, sometimes called a spinal tap, is a method for collecting a sample of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. This fluid is called cerebrospinal fluid. If the lymphoma has affected the central nervous system, the cerebrospinal fluid will likely contain lymphoma cells.
- Organ function tests: These tests are usually done before starting treatment to make sure that one's organs are healthy enough to withstand the side effects of therapy. Examples include an echocardiogram or MUGA scan (a test that provides a movie-like image of the working heart) for the heart, and pulmonary function tests for the lungs.
Updated:: 04/04/2019