The most important test for diagnosing lymphoma is a biopsy. A doctor or nurse will take a sample of tissue from the affected area. They may use a scan such as an ultrasound or CT scan to guide them to the area. This is called image guided biopsy.
They send the tissue sample to a laboratory to be examined under a microscope and for further tests.
You may have to wait up to two weeks for the results of the biopsy. This is because diagnosing lymphoma is complicated and several tests need to be done.
Waiting for test results can be a difficult time, we have more information that can help.
Most lymphomas involve the lymph nodes, so the most common place to take a biopsy from is an enlarged lymph node. You may have all or part of the lymph node removed. This may be done using a local anaesthetic to numb the area, or under a general anaesthetic while you are asleep.
For a few days after any biopsy, you may feel sore and bruised around the area. Taking mild painkillers will help. The bruising will go away in a couple of weeks.
This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editors, Dr Anne Parker, Consultant Haematologist; and Professor Rajnish Gupta, Macmillan Consultant Medical Oncologist.
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