Like any other cancer, the survival rate of lymphoma depends significantly on its early detection. The diagnosis of lymphoma and its treatment depend on the type and extent of the cancer's spread.
Also, the lymphoma diagnosis includes a combination of medical tests and scans, which help the doctors design an effective line of treatment as well. These tests are also used to help doctors diagnose, stage, and manage lymphoma effectively.
Lymphoma diagnostic tests consist of different examinations to determine the presence of lymphoma and, if present, its stage and type. The testing for lymphoma begins with a physical examination, during which the doctor discusses the patient's symptoms and medical history.
In addition, the doctor may order certain advanced tests if the need arises. Doctors often use the following tests for lymphoma diagnosis:
If and when a patient visits a doctor with symptoms of lymphoma, they will first do a detailed physical examination. During this examination, the doctor would check for enlarged lymph nodes, spleen enlargement, rashes or discoloration of the skin, fever, unusual weight loss, and swelling or masses in the locations of lymph nodes.
Getting knowledge about the patient's medical history is also an integral step in lymphoma detection. A proper medical history evaluation helps the doctor get information about the lymphoma risk factors among a patient, gauge a patient's overall health condition, and select the most effective treatment for lymphoma based on the findings.
Doctors also conduct a blood test for lymphoma detection, as it can assist in identifying the presence of any abnormal white blood cells, determining the extent of the disease's spread, if any, and gauging the elevated levels of proteins in the blood caused by lymphoma.
Imaging tests are used to get detailed images of the body's insides and are effective in diagnosing lymphoma's extent of spread. Some of the imaging tests are CT scans, MRI imaging tests, and PET scans.
A biopsy is a commonly recommended diagnostic test for the conclusive diagnosis of lymphoma that involves the removal of a small part of the body's tissues. This sample is then examined under a microscope for a definitive diagnosis.
Through a biopsy, the doctor can inspect the shape and size of the cancerous cells, their arrangement, and other abnormalities.
Flow cytometry is a laboratory test performed to check for normal and abnormal cells associated with lymphoma. The test analyzes the surface markers on the cancerous cells identified in a biopsy sample.
The analysis of the surface markers helps in identifying the lymphoma's stage and type. The results of the test are used to plan the treatment of lymphoma.
Immunohistochemistry is a technique used in laboratories for the diagnosis of lymphoma, determining the probable prognosis of lymphoma, and determining the response to treatment.
The test makes use of antigens to identify certain proteins present in the tissue samples. This further helps the doctors determine the cell types and their associated markers.
Molecular testing is again a laboratory test used in the analysis of the changes in the molecular and genetic characteristics of lymphoma cancerous cells. The doctors use the test results to confirm a diagnosis of lymphoma, which helps in making effective treatment decisions and predicting the likely prognosis of the disease.
Cytogenetics is a lymphoma detection test that involves studying the abnormalities in chromosomal structures within the cells. The test is again used to confirm a lymphoma diagnosis and define a line of treatment for the cancer.
Lymph node aspiration is a procedure during which cells from the enlarged lymph nodes are removed through a thin needle. The sample is then studied under a microscope for signs of lymphoma.
This is a safe and minimally invasive method that does not cause any discomfort to the patient but has a high diagnostic success rate.
Staging is again an effective test for lymphoma and is used to determine the extent of cancer's spread in the body. The test gauges the size and extent of the spread of the cancerous cells. This analysis then helps the doctor make a treatment plan as per the patient's condition and the cancer's stage.
Doctors conduct a bone marrow examination or test to check the presence of lymphoma cells in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is a spongy tissue present in the bones that is responsible for the production of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
A lumbar puncture or spinal tap is a test used to determine whether cancerous cells have spread to the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) around the spinal cord and brain. Though lumbar puncture is not a primary lymphoma detection method, doctors may conduct this test if they are suspicious of the involvement of the central nervous system.
As the name suggests, genetic profiling refers to a test for studying any genetic mutations, alterations, or changes in the behavior of lymphoma cancerous cells. The outcomes of the test are useful for getting information about lymphoma subtypes, effective treatment options, and a likely prognosis.
Various factors contribute to designing a relevant treatment for lymphoma. A complete understanding of these factors helps doctors achieve a high lymphoma treatment success rate. These factors include the stage of lymphoma, the type of lymphoma, and the patient's complete health scenario.
Here are the different treatment options available for lymphoma. Each of these treatment options is selected by the team of doctors based on the factors mentioned above and the patient's condition.
Lymphoma chemotherapy includes treatment for both types of lymphoma: non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Chemotherapy is a procedure through which drugs are used to kill cancerous cells. The medicines are injected into the bloodstream to reach cancerous cells.
During lymphoma chemotherapy, the drugs may be injected directly into a vein, given in the form of pills, or injected directly into the cerebrospinal fluid through intrathecal injection.
Another standard method used for the treatment of lymphoma is radiation therapy. It is often used to damage cancer cells that have spread to internal organs. The method uses high-energy radiation rays to kill the cancerous cells.
Immunotherapy for lymphoma is a constructive treatment method that uses the patient's immune system to kill cancerous cells. Different types of immunotherapy for lymphoma include checkpoint inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies, and CAR T-cell therapy.
Targeted therapy is a treatment of lymphoma that uses medicines to target proteins responsible for controlling the growth, division, and spread of the cancerous cells. These targeted therapies have been successful in treating different subtypes of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
A stem cell transplant is used for lymphoma treatment, along with high-dose chemotherapy. This method is used for replacing cancerous bone marrow cells with healthy stem cells. This replacement leads to an increased production of new and healthy cells.
Precision medicine is a treatment procedure that uses the patient's cancer information to target specific proteins, genes, and molecules. These genes, molecules, and proteins are the ones that are involved in cancer's growth in a patient's body.
Monoclonal antibodies are a kind of targeted drug that are made to target specific proteins present on the cancerous cells' surface. This helps the human immune system to identify and kill the cancerous cells.
CAR T-cell therapy is a kind of immunotherapy for lymphoma that uses the patient's T-cells in the immune system to destroy the cancerous cells. This T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma treatment involves the removal the deceased T-cells and then genetically modifying them to be reinfused into the patient's body.
Steroids are a line of treatments that are known to decrease inflammation caused by cancerous cells and also suppress the human immune system.
Clinical tests are studies based on research regarding various aspects of cancer and using the information for designing an effective line of treatment for lymphoma. These clinical trials seek information about new drugs and their usage and effectiveness, and other treatment options as well.
Patients who have exhausted all their treatment options may opt for clinical trials. To understand more about enroling to a clinical trial, patients must talk to their doctor.
HCG brings a professionally trained multidisciplinary care team of experts with the right experience and expertise to evaluate and design a proper treatment for lymphoma. Access to the latest technologies used for lymphoma diagnosis and treatment also makes HCG stand out from the crowd.
Lymphoma diagnosis and treatment have undergone drastic changes over the years. These changes have not only increased survival rates but have also helped doctors have a clear understanding of the diseases. However, the first step towards a successful line of treatment is talking to your healthcare specialist as soon as the patient observes lymphoma symptoms and senses that something is not normal.