Lymphoma Cancer Diagnosis
Unlike a lot of conditions, lymphoma cancer is actually quite difficult to diagnose. This is due to the fact that many of the symptoms involved in the cancer are either very small, or very similar to other less severe issues.
In fact, it is often the sufferer that makes the first diagnosis by simply comparing their symptoms to the symptoms of lymphoma cancer. From this stage, they are likely to report their condition to their doctor who will then utilize the standard procedures to issue a confirmation of the diagnosis.
The Main Diagnosis Procedure is a Biopsy
As lymphoma cancer is so difficult to diagnose, many doctors feel the most comfortable by taking a biopsy as soon as they suspect the condition. This involves taking a tissue sample from an area that is thought to be infected, before passing the sample on to pathologists who will then make an analysis. While this is the only method that will determine if the patient is definitely suffering from lymphoma, it is a surgical procedure and therefore some doctors may look to try other diagnosis methods before proceeding with this one.
Blood tests are another method that can also be used to test for the condition. However, unlike a biopsy, doctors will not get a definite answer through a blood tests and only a small indication that the patient is suffering from lymphoma cancer. Typically, the levels of lymphocytes will be analysed. The average level for an adult is 1500 cells per micro litre of blood, while children have twice as many. If the results highlight a big difference in the average, there is a high chance that the patient is suffering from a form of lymphoma cancer.
Bone Marrow Samples
This is a procedure that is more commonly used to determine non-Hodgkin's related lymphoma, although it can also aid the diagnosis for Hodgkin's related lymphoma. The procedure involves bone marrow being extracted through the use of a needle, before then being analysed by experts.
The use of x-rays, MRI scans and CT scanning can be crucial while diagnosing the cancer. The scans can allow a closer look at lymph nodes but also highlight if any other areas of the body have been affected.
Other Diagnosis Methods
The four diagnosis procedures mentioned so far are perhaps the most common methods that doctors utilize today. However, there are other options and these are sometimes conducted in conjunction with the above.
If the patient has reported sightings of lymph nodes, a doctor is highly likely to carry out a physical examination to try and gain a further understanding of the problem. Other possible diagnosis methods include a Positron Emission Tomography, a gallium scan or in rare cases a lymphangiogram.
In conclusion, it is clear to see that doctors have a variety of options available to issue a diagnosis of lymphoma cancer. Once this diagnosis has been confirmed, doctors will decide which stage of the cancer the patient is currently in.