Tests and procedures used to diagnose non-Hodgkin's lymphoma:
- Physical exam. Your doctor checks for swollen lymph nodes, including in your neck, underarm and groin, as well as for a swollen spleen or liver.
- Blood and urine tests. Blood and urine tests may help rule out an infection or other disease.
- Imaging tests. Your doctor may recommend imaging tests to look for signs of lymphoma cells elsewhere in your body. Tests may include CT, MRI and positron emission tomography (PET).
- Lymph node test. Your doctor may recommend a lymph node biopsy procedure to remove all or part of a lymph node for laboratory testing. Analyzing lymph node tissue in a lab may reveal whether you have non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and, if so, which type.
- Bone marrow test. A bone marrow biopsy and aspiration procedure involves inserting a needle into your hipbone to remove a sample of bone marrow. The sample is analyzed to look for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cells.
- Lumbar puncture (spinal tap). If there's a concern that the lymphoma may affect the fluid around your spinal cord, your doctor might recommend a procedure to remove some of the fluid for testing. During a spinal tap, the doctor inserts a small needle into the spinal canal in your lower back.
Other tests and procedures may be used depending on your situation.