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Tests, scans and staging for lymphoma

Doctors use tests and scans to diagnose lymphoma and to find out more about it after a diagnosis is confirmed. This helps them plan the best treatment for you. You might have further tests and scans during treatment, follow-up and any periods of active monitoring (‘watch and wait’).

Find out more in this section about the referral process and the tests and scans you might have. You might also be interested in watching our video on scans

Image of a General practitioner

Getting a referral for tests

Your GP is often the first person you speak to if you have concerns about your health or if you feel unwell.

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Image of hand holding vial of blood

Blood tests

Blood tests give doctors useful information about your general health and help show how lymphoma is affecting your body.

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Image of a PET scanPET, CT, and PET/CT scans

These work in different ways to give detailed pictures of the inside of your body.

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MRI scanner MRI scans

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan uses a strong magnet and radio waves to make detailed images of the inside of your body.

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Image of an ultrasound scan

Ultrasound scan and X-ray

These scans can help doctors diagnose and find out about some types of lymphoma.

Find out more by watching our video on scans

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Image of a biopsy slide Biopsy

A biopsy (sample of tissue) is usually needed before a diagnosis of lymphoma can be confirmed.

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Illustration of a bone marrow biopsy

Bone marrow biopsy

This tests whether you have lymphoma cells in your bone marrow, where blood cells are made.

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lumbar puncture needle going into the lower spine

Lumbar puncture

This test shows if you have lymphoma in your central nervous system or (brain, spinal cord and eyes).

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Image of a Wall Calendar

Waiting for your results

Find out why it can take time to get your results and tips to help cope with the wait.

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Outline of a torso showing lumps in two placesStages of lymphoma

Find out about the different stages of lymphoma and what they mean.

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Silhouette of doctor wearing stethoscope with X-ray behindYour medical team

Find out about the healthcare professionals who might be involved in your treatment and care.

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Scans and lymphoma

Dr Manil Subesinghe describes the reasons why you might have scans and what the different scans show. 

Remote video URL

You might also like to listen to our podcast on the role of the radiologist with Dr Subesinghe.

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Further reading