Skip to content

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Font Size
A
A
A

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma - 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: October 22, 2012
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.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

stem cells
What are they and why do we need them?
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
 
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Ovarian cancer illustration
Do you know the symptoms?
 
Vitamin D
SLIDESHOW
New Treatments For Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
FEATURE
 
Lifestyle Tips for Depression Slideshow
SLIDESHOW
Pets Improve Your Health
SLIDESHOW
 

WebMD Special Sections