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How do doctors assign a stage to non-Hodgkin lymphoma?

A key element of a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is known as staging, and it is based on several factors. Once a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma has been made, a series of tests will be ordered to determine where the cancerous cells and tumors are located, and how much they've spread through the body. This determines the stage number, which can run from 1 to 4, with 1 indicating a small concentration in a single lymph node, and 4 indicating cancerous cells spread throughout the lymphatic system and/or into major organs, bone marrow, and other tissues. The stage number, along with a letter A or B (indicating the presence or absence of certain secondary symptoms) will then help the doctor determine the proper course of treatment, which could range from "watchful waiting" to intensive chemotherapy.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.