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How is a biopsy used to diagnose non-Hodgkin lymphoma?

The only way to confirm a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is with a biopsy. A biopsy will involve removal of part or all of a swollen lymph node so the doctor can examine the cells under a microscope. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma cells have a distinctive appearance that confirms the presence of the disease. This is why an entire lymph node is often taken out; the doctor needs enough tissue to effectively examine. If your doctor suspects the disease may have spread to the bone marrow, a bone marrow biopsy will also be ordered.

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