Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is diagnosed by a tissue biopsy. If there is an enlarged, painless lymph node, without of an infection, a biopsy will be needed.
To perform a lymph node biopsy a doctor will cut into the lymph node to remove a sample of tissue or remove the entire lymph node. If the biopsy shows non-Hodgkin lymphoma, further testing will be needed to determine the specific type as well as to determine the stage of disease. Depending on your specific symptoms, the type of the lymphoma, its site of origin, and the biopsy results, you will need some or all of the following tests:
Symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma may include:
Painless swelling of one or more lymph nodes, with no recent infection. Swelling may be intermittent.
Swelling, fluid accumulation, or pain in the abdomen.
Shortness of breath, wheezing, or coughing.
Bloody stool or vomit.
Swelling of the face, neck, and arms.
Blockage of urine flow.
Unexplained weight loss amounting to 10% of body weight over six months.
Fever lasting for at least 14 consecutive days, usually in...
Computed tomography (CT) scans of the neck, chest, abdomen, and pelvis
Spinal tap (lumbar puncture), depending upon the type, stage, and location of the non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Upper GI series and small bowel X-rays
Upper GI endoscopy
MRI scans for a spinal or epidural lymphoma
Testicular ultrasound to evaluate the opposite testicle for a testicular lymphoma primary site
Head and neck exam
Tissue samples will be sent for testing to classify the type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
These tests give important information that aid in determining the best treatment for the type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosed. A stage will be designated to describe the extent of the disease.
What Are the Treatments for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?
For non-Hodgkin lymphoma, treatments are based on the type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosed, its stage, and the symptoms present, if any. The goal of treatment is to eradicate the lymphoma while causing as little damage as possible to normal cells to minimize the side effects of treatment. Talk with your doctor about any treatment related side effects.
The most common treatments for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma include:
Immunotherapy, including monoclonal antibodies
Stem cell transplant
Surgery, in rare cases
These treatments may be used in combination or alone, depending on the type, stage, and symptoms of the non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Prevention of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Because most causes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma are unknown, there are few ways known to prevent it. Researchers are looking into prevention of infections that have been associated with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, such as HHV-8, HIV, HTLV-1, and H. pylori. Avoiding exposure to certain chemicals, such as lead, arsenic, pesticides, vinyl chloride, and asbestos, may help reduce the risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Wearing appropriate protective safety equipment on the job and around the house is important if there is a possibility of exposure to these chemicals.