The diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma can only be made by a tissue biopsy -- cutting a tissue sample for examination. If you have an enlarged, painless lymph node that your doctor suspects may be due to Hodgkin lymphoma, tissue will be taken for biopsy or the entire node will be removed. The diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma can be confirmed if a type of cell, called a Reed-Sternberg cell, is seen.
If a biopsy reveals that you do have Hodgkin lymphoma, you may need additional tests to determine the extent, or stage, of the disease. Tests include blood tests, chest X-ray, computed tomography (CT) scans of the chest, abdomen and pelvis, and possibly the neck, and a PET scans. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, bone scans, spinal tap (lumbar puncture), and bone marrow studies are useful under special circumstances.
These tests will confirm the stage of the disease and the best type of therapy to pursue.
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