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How is non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosed?

There are over 20 distinct varieties of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. If after a physical examination your doctor suspects you may have the disease, a series of tests will be ordered to rule out Hodgkin lymphoma or other lymphatic disorders. This diagnosis process involves tests of one or more of the following: a biopsy, or tissue removal, from a swollen lymph node or bone marrow, CT scan, MRI, ultrasound, spinal tap, or PET scan. Positive results mean a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which will be further broken down as either B-cell or T-cell. It will also be classified as either indolent, or low grade, meaning the disease is spreading slowly, has few symptoms, and is very responsive to treatment, or aggressive, or high-grade, a fast-spreading form with severe symptoms requiring intensive treatment. Depending on the location and distribution of the tumors, and on whether secondary symptoms are present, the diagnosis will be assigned a stage number (1 through 4) and a letter (A or B).

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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.