18 Answers Patients with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Need

The responses to these questions will help you better understand this common form of cancer.

doctor consultation

If you have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, it’s important to obtain certain answers from your healthcare team in order to make an informed decision regarding your treatment plan. Below is a look at some of the questions patients may want to discuss during an appointment:

Questions about your diagnosis

  • Which type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma do I have?
  • Has the cancer spread to other areas of my body?
  • Did the protein tests determine anything about the type of lymphoma?
  • Will I be receiving genetic tests that look for defects in chromosomes?
  • Will I receive a copy of my pathology report? (This information includes the results of your lab work and tissue analysis, which is recorded each time tissue is tested.)

Questions about test results

What do the results from my latest standard tests say about my condition? These tests may include:

  • Physical exam
  • CBC (complete blood count)
  • Comprehensive metabolic panel (offers the levels of chemicals in the blood)
  • LDH (lactate dehydrogenase, which determines cell damage)
  • Testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV
  • A biopsy, which takes a tissue sample of a lymph node or other tumor site
  • CT (computed tomography, which uses x-rays to create an image of the bones, soft tissues, organs and blood vessels)
  • A PET or PET/CT scan (positron emission tomography, which can detect cancer cells)

Questions about further testing

In addition to the initial biopsy and the tests above, your healthcare providers may order one or more of these tests:

  • Will I be having a bone marrow exam? (This involves two procedures: a bone marrow aspiration, which removes liquid bone marrow, and a bone marrow biopsy, which removes solid bone marrow tissue.)
  • Will I be having a spinal tap? (This procedure is called a lumbar puncture and it determines if the cancer has spread to the fluid around the brain and spinal cord.)
  • Echocardiogram (a sonogram of the heart). This may be done to test heart function prior to certain types of chemotherapy.

Questions about fertility

Infertility is a possible consequence of cancer treatment, including treatment for NHL.

  • Before starting treatment, should I speak to someone about sperm banking? (This question is for men who may want to have children in the future.)
  • Before starting treatment, should I speak to someone about freezing my eggs? (This question is for women who may want to have children in the future.) 

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