Many people that suffer from lymphoma, the cancer of the lymph system, remain undiagnosed for a long time because they don’t know the symptoms to watch out for.
The alarming signs of lymphoma would include enlarged nodes that are usually painless lumps that are seen in the neck, armpits, or groin; sudden dropping of weight; continuous or internment fever, excessive sweating at nighttime, extreme itchiness every part of the body, the rapid loss in appetite; the feeling exhaustion or fatigue, weakness despite regular eating and rest, and swollen neck and face along with nonstop breathlessness.
Aside from the lymph system, experts say that lymphoma can also occur in the other parts of the body or organs such as the stomach. So, when at least three of these symptoms become persistent, it would be best for you to consult a doctor so he or she could request for lymphoma diagnosis for you.
Options for lymphoma diagnosis
If you want to have an idea what are the options for you when you decide to undergo diagnosis for lymphoma, the most common tests and procedures would include biopsy, knowing the type of lymphoma, and other related tests.
1. Biopsy. This is considered the “first step” in diagnosis for lymphoma. Usually, doctors perform what they call “excisional biopsy” wherein a small sample of tissue will be acquired from the affected organs or nodes of the patient. Once the sample is acquired, an expert called a “pathologist,” will examine it under the microscope. Here, it can be seen if the patient has cancer cells that would cause lymphoma. The most common type of biopsy given to those who are at risk is “lymph node biopsy”. However, when the cancerous cells affect areas such as the brain, the skin, or the abdomen or stomach, a biopsy from the mentioned organ will be prioritized. A more specific type of biopsy for lymphoma is called “Lymph Node Biopsy and Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology” or FNAC which intends to get more samples to produce a well-detailed diagnosis.
2. How to determine the type of lymphoma. Once the biopsy has been made, the next would be how to determine the type of lymphoma there is. There are over 20 types of lymphoma but these all fall under two categories including Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin lymphoma. This can be determined by the pathologist once he or she places the sample of tissue under a microscope. Here, the physical appearance of the cells will be scrutinized carefully.
3. Succeeding tests after the diagnosis. After the biopsy and after the type of lymphoma has been determined, a series of tests and other examinations will follow. These are very important to be able to know exactly how much of the cancer cells have spread out and the potential damage it has brought to the organ/s affected. Other tests might include Bone Marrow Test and PET Scans for Lymphoma among others. These are crucial for the patient so he or she would undergo necessary treatments that would make the condition a lot better.