Signs and symptoms are not sufficient to confirm you have non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Other more specific procedures will be performed to confirm the diagnosis; your doctor will recommend the following tests:
- Physical examination – your physician will exam your body looking for signs indicating non-Hodgkin lymphoma: swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit or groin areas. In addition, he will ask you questions about your medical history.
- Blood test – a blood test is needed to confirm or rule out other infections that can cause swollen lymph nodes, HIV / AIDS for example. The blood test is also important to count your blood cells.
- Bone marrow Biopsy – Bone marrow is often affected in the case of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. laboratory analysis of a sample of your bone marrow is necessary to determine not only the lymphoma but also its stage.
- Lymph node biopsy – this is an important test to determine the morphology (low grade, intermediate grade or high grade) of the lymph nodes; during the test, your physician will take a sample of lymph node tissue directly from the swollen lymph nodes. The technique not only allows your doctor to dectct the lymphoma but also its type: non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
- Scan the thorax and abdomen – usually, your doctor will recommend a scan of your thorax and abdomen to detect and stage the cancer. Along with a positron emission tomography (PET) scan, your physician can also use this imaging technique to determine the size of the tumor.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – a MRI of your brain and spinal cord helps your physician to know if the cancer has spread or not to these organs.