How do diagnose Lymphoma?
Frequently, we use computed tomography, or CT scans, to diagnose and stage lymphoma. CT scanners use a series of x-rays and powerful computers to create 2 and 3-dimensional images of the body. This is done in combination with laboratory values ordered by a patient’s primary physician, which are often abnormal in the setting of lymphoma.
In patients with enlarged lymph nodes that can be felt on physical examination, ultrasound is usually performed first. Ultrasound does not produce radiation and instead uses high frequency soundwaves to image lymph nodes and other structures with a high level of detail.
Needle biopsies can be performed under ultrasound or CT to obtain cells for the diagnosis and typing of lymphoma.
PET/CT is a special technique used to stage lymphoma and is particularly useful in identifying the effects of treatment. Positron emission tomography utilizes the body’s natural uptake of modified glucose (sugar) with a CT scan to show sites of disease.