Once your doctor confirms a Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis, he or she orders more tests to stage your disease. Staging identifies the extent of your disease and where it’s located in your body.

Staging tests include:

Blood tests

  • Levels of red cells, white cells and platelets
  • The presence of lymphoma cells
  • Abnormalities or deficiencies of immunoglobulins made by lymphocytes
  • Blood protein levels
  • Liver and kidney function
  • Evidence of hepatitis A or B
  • Evidence of HIV

Bone Marrow test

  • Your doctor may decide to examine your bone marrow to see whether the disease has spread. If your disease is in an early stage and some signs and symptoms haven’t appeared, you may not need this test.

Imaging Tests

These tests identify:

  • The location and distribution of enlarged lymph nodes
  • The disease’s effect, if . . . . . . any, on other organs such as the lungs and liver
  • Large tumour masses

Imaging tests may include:

  • A chest X-ray
  • A computed tomography (CT) scan of the chest, pelvis and abdomen (stomach area)
  • A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
  • A positron emission tomography (PET) scan
  • A fluorodeoxyglucose PET (FDG-PET) scan of the entire body with a radioactive tracer (F-18)

Other Tests for Specific Subtypes

Certain tests are performed for specific subtypes only and not necessary for all patients with NHL. They include:

  • Upper and lower endoscopies for patients whose disease involves the digestive (gastrointestinal) tract
  • A lumbar puncture for patients whose central nervous system may be affected by NHL

Imaging of the brain or spinal column for patients whose central nervous system may be affected by NHL.

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