Diagnosing and Treating Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
If you have symptoms suggesting lymphoma, your doctor will perform a complete physical evaluation. During this examination, the doctor looks for swollen lymph nodes under the chin, in the neck and tonsil area, on the shoulders and elbows, under the arms and in the groin, and checks for fluid in your chest or abdomen that could be caused by swollen lymph nodes. Physicians also check the abdomen to see whether any internal organs are enlarged, especially the spleen.
If the doctor suspects lymphoma after reviewing your symptoms and performing a physical examination, doctors may order other test to help confirm the diagnosis. These tests could include a biopsy, blood tests, X-rays and other imaging tests, scans, bone marrow evaluation, and perhaps an examination of the cerebrospinal fluid.
Doctors at MedStar Harbor Hospital use the latest in imaging techniques and tests to help detect cancer. At times our specialists have even been involved in inventing many diagnostic procedures. One of the most innovative techniques recently employed at the Lung Cancer Center is Positron Emission Tomography (PET). PET is a non-invasive procedure that produces powerful images of the metabolic activity in the human body. PET detects the presence of cancer before obvious tissue growth occurs. Learn more about PET.
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Treatment
Treatment depends upon the stage of the disease. Low-grade disease may just need to be observed with no treatment until it causes problems (early treatment is not more effective). When treatment becomes necessary, chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be used. Patients with more aggressive or resistant disease may require more intensive treatment. High-dose chemotherapy with bone marrow transplantation may be a treatment option in selected cases.
Some patients may also have the option of participating in clinical trials (research studies) to evaluate promising new treatments. Clinical trials are very important because they are designed to improve the way diseases are treated now and in the future.
For a lymphoma specialist on staff at MedStar Harbor Hospital, call 410-350-2563.
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