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.

Image of a General practitioner

Getting a referral for tests

Your GP is often the first person you see 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.

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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 spineLumbar puncture

This test shows if  you have lymphoma in your central nervous system.

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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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Further reading