How to Detect Lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is a form of cancer that develops in the lymph nodes and lymphatic system and can often spread throughout the body. It is caused by an overproduction of white blood cells called lymphocytes. It is far more common than Hodgkin's disease, which has similar symptoms but consists of different cell material. It is highly treatable if detected early, with some of the symptoms being fever, fatigue, night sweats, abnormal weight loss and pain in the chest area.

  1. Steps to Detecting Lymphoma

    • 1

      Undergo a thorough physical examination. Your doctor may want to examine not only lymph nodes that are swollen, but also those in other areas of the body in the event that the disease may have spread.

    • 2

      Complete blood and urine tests. Since swollen lymph nodes can also be a sign of infection, these tests will determine whether your symptoms are resulting from a condition other than lymphoma.

    • 3

      Undergo imaging tests. A CT scan, which is a form of x-ray, can indicate the presence of tumors in the torso and neck. An MRI can detect tumors in the spinal cord and on the brain, and a PET scan shows tumors through the use of a radioactive tracer that is injected into the body.

    • 4

      Undergo a lymph node biopsy. This involves having a small tissue sample removed and sent to a medical laboratory for examination. It will reveal not only whether lymphoma is present, but also what stage it is in.

    • 5

      Determine whether the lymphoma has spread to other parts of the body by undergoing a bone marrow biopsy. Bone marrow will be obtained by the insertion of a small needle into the pelvic region, and it will then be sent to a lab for testing.

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