Lymphoma Diagnosis

If you are experiencing unexplained symptoms such as swelling, weight loss, itching and fever, you should make an appointment with your doctor. Most of the time, lymphoma is not causing the symptoms. However, it is important to receive an expert diagnosis. If it is cancer, we can treat it more easily when we diagnose it early.

Diagnosing Lymphomas

Your doctor will begin the diagnosis by asking you about your symptoms and your medical and family history. We will also perform a thorough physical examination.

Other diagnostic procedures include:

Laboratory tests
Blood tests allow us to look for high level of certain enzymes and to evaluate the performance of important organs.

Biopsy
If your doctor suspects a lymphoma, we will remove a tissue sample from the swelling. A pathologist will examine the sample under a microscope to obtain a definitive diagnosis. Depending where the mass is located, we may perform the procedure in the doctor’s office. If the affected area is harder to access, we may use a laparoscopic surgical procedure.

We may also need to perform a bone marrow biopsy, during which we take a sample of your bone marrow to examine. We give you an anesthetic before the procedure to make you more comfortable.

Imaging Tests
If your doctor cannot feel a mass, we may order imaging studies. This will help us figure out if a tumor is present and the best way to biopsy it.

Imaging studies include:

Spinal Tap
Lumbar puncture, or spinal tap, is a procedure to collect some fluid surrounding your brain and spinal cord. This helps us determine if the lymphoma has affected the central nervous system.

Lymphoma: Treatment

Once we obtain an accurate diagnosis, we will create your individualized treatment plan. Treatment options for lymphomas include chemotherapy and radiation therapy. We may also use biological therapy. Learn more about lymphoma treatment.

Find a Fletcher Allen physician or call us at 877-540-HOPE (4673).