Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done, paying particular attention to your lymph nodes. Most enlarged or swollen lymph nodes result from infection, not
. If infection is suspected, you may be given medication and told to return for a follow up appointment.
If swelling persists, your doctor may order a
lymph node biopsy
For this test,
all or part of a lymph node will be removed. The tissue sample will be examined under a microscope. The biopsy results will show whether there is cancer. It will also show the type of the cancer that is present.
Lymphoma may be: Aggressive
or highly aggressive
(high grade)—grows quickly and causes serious symptomsIndolent (low grade)—grows more slowly and produces few symptoms
In addition to microscopic examination of the lymphoma, other studies may be done, such as: Flow cytometry and cell marker studies to examine the cellsBone marrow biopsyCT scanFluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) Positron emission tomography (PET)/CT scan
If cancer is found, treatment will depend on the stage of your cancer. The doctor will order additional tests to determine the stage of the cancer. Staging is a careful attempt to determine whether the cancer has spread and, if it has, what body parts are affected.
Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with: Urine testsBlood testsBone marrow biopsy
Your bodily structures may need to be viewed. This can be done with: X-raysCT scanPET scanUltrasonographyMRI scanLaparoscopy
The following stages are used to classify non-Hodgkins lymphoma: Stage I—cancer involves a single lymph node region. Or, if the cancer started in an organ, it is limited to that organ.Stage II—cancer has spread to two or more lymph node regions on the same side of the diaphragm. Or, if the cancer started in an organ, it has spread to one or more lymph node groups on the same side of the diaphragm.Stage III—cancer has spread to two or more lymph node regions on both sides of the diaphragm.Stage IV—cancer has spread to other parts of the body in addition to lymph nodes.
Manual of Clinical Oncology
. 6th ed. Lippincott Williams & Williams; 2009
Last reviewed March 2015 by Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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