How is non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosed?
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for non-Hodgkin lymphoma may include:
- blood and urine tests
- x-rays of the chest- a diagnostic test which uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of your child’s internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film
- lymph node biopsy- a sample of tissue is removed from a lymph node and examined under a microscope
- computerized tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan) - a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general x-rays.
- lymphangiogram (LAG)- Dye is injected into lymphatic system to determine how much it is involved in areas that are otherwise difficult to visualize.
- bone marrow biopsy/aspiration -a procedure that involves a small amount of bone marrow fluid and tissue to be taken, usually from part of the hip bones, to further examine the number, size, and maturity of blood cells and/or abnormal cells.
- lumbar puncture (to evaluate central nervous system disease for cancer cells) - a special needle is placed into your child’s lower back, into the spinal canal. This is the area around the spinal cord. A small amount of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) can be removed and sent for testing. CSF is the fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord.
How is non-Hodgkin lymphoma staged?
Staging is the process of determining whether cancer has spread and, if so, how far. There are various staging symptoms that are used for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Always consult your child's physician for information on staging.
One method of staging non-Hodgkin lymphoma is the following:
- stage I - involves the tumor at one site, either nodal or elsewhere in the body
- stage II - involves the tumor at two or more sites on the same side of the body
- stage III - involves tumors in any number that occur on both sides of the body, but does not involve bone marrow or the central nervous system
- stage IV - is any stage of tumor that also has bone marrow and/or central nervous system involvement. Stage IV is also subdivided depending on the amount of blasts (cancer cells) present in the bone marrow.