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    Leukemia, Lymphoma / Blood Cancers Mini Guide TOC - Exams and Tests

    If non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) is suspected, your doctor will ask about your medical history and perform a physical exam. This exam includes checking for enlarged lymph nodes in your neck, underarm, and groin.

    Diagnostic tests

    A tissue sample (biopsy) is needed to make a diagnosis. A biopsy for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is usually taken from a lymph node, but other tissues may be sampled as well.

    A bone marrow aspiration and biopsy is usually done to find out if lymphoma cells are present in the bone marrow.

    Other tests

    Your doctor may also order other tests, including:

    • Blood tests, such as a chemistry screen to measure the levels of several substances in the blood and a CBC (complete blood count) to provide information about the kinds and numbers of cells in the blood.
    • A chest X-ray, to provide a picture of the inside of the chest.
    • A CT scan or MRI, to provide detailed pictures of the inside of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis.
    • A PET scan, to show areas of increased metabolic activity. Metabolic activity is often high in cancer cells.
    • Lab tests, such as flow cytometry, that check the types of cells in a biopsy sample. These tests help your doctor find out the type of lymphoma.
    • Lumbar puncture (also called a spinal tap), to find out whether lymphoma cells are in the fluid (cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF) surrounding your brain and spinal cord.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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