How Do They Test for Lymphoma?

Lymphoma, or lymphatic cancer, is a form of cancer that affects the group of white blood cells called lymphocytes. While there are no general screening recommendations for this form of cancer, you should consult with a physician if you start experiencing symptoms associated with lymphoma, such as swollen lymph nodes, fatigue and weight loss.

How is lymphoma diagnosed?

Testing for lymphatic cancer generally begins with a physical examination, during which your physician will review your medical history and discuss your symptoms. Lymphoma can be confirmed with a biopsy, in which a tissue sample is taken from an affected area of the body for analysis. At Moffitt Cancer Center, we perform several types of biopsies to diagnose lymphatic cancer, including excisional lymph node biopsy, pleural fluid biopsy, bone marrow aspiration and biopsy and image-guided biopsy using CT and ultrasound.

Will I need other tests?

Depending on your individual condition, there are additional tests and diagnostic services that Moffitt may recommend, such as:

  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Hematopathology consultation
  • Cytogenetics
  • Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) panel
  • Flow cytometry
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
  • Clonality studies
  • Complete blood cell (CBC) counts
  • X-ray
  • Lumbar puncture and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan

An accurate diagnosis is important for developing a lymphoma treatment plan that is tailored to the individual needs of the patient. At Moffitt, we understand that every patient is unique, which is why our Malignant Hematology Program is comprised of multispecialty experts who collaborate as a tumor board to give each patient’s case the individualized attention it deserves.

If you have lymphoma symptoms or have recently been diagnosed and would like a second opinion, fill out a new patient registration form online or call 1-888-663-3488 to schedule an appointment at Moffitt. We see patients with or without referrals.