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Tests for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

written by: AlyssaAst • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 6/27/2009

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a serious medical condition. Diagnosing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is important to properly treat this cancer. A blood test for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is only one tool used to diagnose this condition.

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    Suspicion of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

    Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a serious medical condition that can produce drastic results if it is not diagnosed and treated quickly. A blood test for on-Hodgkin’s lymphoma can help diagnose this condition, along with other tests. If a doctor suspects a patient might have on-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, they will conduct a physical exam. The exam will consist of an evaluation of medical history and checking for enlarged lymph nodes. Tissues samples may be taken for testing. The tissues can come from the lymph nodes or other body tissues.

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    Blood Tests

    A common test to diagnose Lymphoma is a blood test. A blood test for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is called a chemistry screen. This test measures the blood count in the body to determine the number and types of blood cells in the body. A blood test will also check the blood for certain substances.

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    Medical Scans

    Medical scans are often used to diagnose this cancer. One scan that is commonly used is the CT scan. This test provides doctors with detailed pictures of the organs, abdomen, chest, and pelvis.

    Another scan that is used is the PET scan. PET scans will show doctor’s areas in the body with increased metabolic activity. Areas with high activity often have cancerous cells.

    Multigated acquisition scans can be preformed to diagnose this cancer. These are used to show how well the heart is functioning. It tests to make sure the heart is pumping enough blood around the body. This is an important test for treating Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma because it will show if a person’s heart is strong enough to with stand certain chemotherapies.

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    X-Ray

    A chest x-ray may be conducted to test for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This test gives doctors a visual of a person’s lungs, heart, blood vessels, and diaphragm. This test can show doctors if any of the organs have an abnormality.

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    Lumbar Puncture

    A lumbar puncture is also called a spinal tap. This test determines if lymphoma cells are present in the fluid of the spinal cord or fluid surrounding the brain.

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    Flow Cytometry

    A flow cytometry test will often need to be conducted on sample tissues. This test helps the doctor determine which form of lymphoma may be present.

    Detecting cancer early is vital to properly treat it and produce a more positive outcome. Although there are no specific tests that can find Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in its earliest forms, these tests can diagnose the cancer before it progresses too far.

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    References:

    “Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma- Exams and Tests” April 22, 2008 WebMD.com