Tests & Procedures
Biopsy: A piece of tissue from an area of suspected cancer is removed from the body for examination under the microscope. Hodgkin's lymphoma is diagnosed by looking at cancer cells and determining how they are growing in the lymph nodes or other tissues.
X-Ray: This procedure uses radiation to take pictures of the area inside the body.
Computerized Axial Tomography (CT Scan): X-rays are taken from different angles around the body. The pictures are then combined using a computer to give a detailed image. The most common CT scans ordered are of the neck, chest, abdomen and/or pelvis.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan: PET combines the fields of medicine, computer science, chemistry, physics and physiology to study the function of organs such as the heart, brain and bone. It is different from conventional imaging methods such as x-rays, CTs, ultrasounds or MRIs, because PET images provide information about how tissue functions. The other imaging methods show what the tissues look like.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): An MRI is similar to a CT scan but uses magnets and radio frequency waves instead of x-rays. A MRI can provide important information about tissues and organs that is not available from other imaging techniques. It is less used in Hodgkin's lymphoma than are CT scans, but it can be useful in evaluation of the bones and brain.
Lymphangiogram: A dye (contrast medium) is injected into the lymphatic vessels in both feet. When the body is X-rayed, the lymph nodes and lymphatic vessels containing the dye are more clearly seen on the film as compared to images obtained with regular X-rays.
Gallium (Radioisotope) Scan: Radioactive gallium is a chemical that collects in some tumors. A small amount of gallium is injected into a blood vessel, and it circulates throughout the body. The body is then scanned from several angles to see if the gallium has collected in a tumor. This test can be very useful in management of Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Blood Tests: These are performed to determine if different types of blood cells are normal in numbers and appearance when viewed under the microscope and if blood chemistry is normal. Other standard tests include liver and kidney function tests, B2 microglobulin and LPH tests and other chemical tests.
Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy: Bone marrow is obtained by numbing the skin, tissue and surface of the bone with a local anesthetic. A thin needle is then inserted into the hip or another large bone and a small sample is collected.
Echocardiogram: This diagnostic test is ordered to evaluate the size and function of the heart.
Pulmonary Function Test: determines how well the lungs function. It is an important test since some drugs used to treat Hodgkin's Lymphoma may affect the lungs.
After diagnosis your doctor will order tests that will help determine the extent of your disease. This is known as "staging". The stage describes the extent to which the tumor has spread in the body. Staging is important since it helps to predict outcome or prognosis and determines the treatment approach.
Stage I (early stage): One lymph node region is involved.
Stage II (locally advanced disease): The cancer is found in two or more lymph regions on one side of the diaphragm or the cancer is found in one lymph node region plus a nearby area or organ, a situation known as "extension," or "E" disease.
Stage III (advanced disease): The disease involves lymph nodes both above and below the diaphragm or one node area and one organ on opposite sides of the diaphragm ("E" disease).
Stage IV (widespread disease): The lymphoma is outside the lymph nodes and spleen and has spread to one or more organs such as bone, bone marrow, skin and other organs.