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Tests, scans and lymphoma staging

Tests and scans help doctors diagnose lymphoma and 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 if you are on 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

GP smiling and facing a patient

Getting a referral for tests and scans

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 information about your health and help show how lymphoma is affecting your body.

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Medical scan

PET, CT, and PET/CT scans

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

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MRI scan machine

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

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Image of a biopsy slide


A biopsy (tissue sample) 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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Needle going into lower back

Lumbar puncture

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


Open diary

Waiting for your results

It can take time to get your results. We outline reasons for this and give tips to help cope with the wait.

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Upper body showing neck and diaphragm

Lymphoma staging

‘Staging’ refers to working out which parts of your body are affected by lymphoma. 
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Medical team meeting

Your medical team

The team of professionals that plan and manage your lymphoma treatment and care are known as a multidisciplinary team (MDT).

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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