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The lymphatic system is made up of vessels and glands.

The lymphatic system is made up of vessels and glands.
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Lymphoma diagnosis

2-minute read

If your doctor suspects you have lymphoma, they may perform a physical examination. This includes feeling the lymph nodes in your neck, underarm or groin for signs of swelling; and your stomach area to check for swollen organs.

They may also ask you about other symptoms and talk to you about your health generally.

If your doctor suspects you may have lymphoma, you will probably be asked to have a biopsy. A biopsy involves removing some or all of an affected lymph node and some lymphocytes (white blood cells) to get a tissue sample. Biopsies can be carried out under local or general anaesthetic.

A pathologist then views the sample under a microscope in a laboratory. If cancerous cells are found, the type of lymphoma (Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin) will also be confirmed.

You may be asked to have other tests, such as:

Some of these tests aim to check your general health, while others aim to look for where lymphoma exists or doesn’t exist in your body.

This information is important to help work out the best treatment.

Naturally, being diagnosed with cancer can be overwhelming. Talking to someone can help. Support is available by calling the Cancer Council helpline on 13 11 20.

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Last reviewed: January 2019

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