The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done, paying careful attention to your lymph nodes. Most enlarged or swollen lymph nodes are caused by an infection, not lymphomas. If infection is suspected, you may be given an antibiotic medication and instructed to return for a follow up appointment. If swelling persists, a lymph node biopsy may be ordered.
For a lymph node biopsy, all or part of one of your lymph nodes will be removed. The tissue sample will be examined under a microscope. The biopsy can show whether there is cancer and the type and extent of cancer. A specific type of cell, called Reed-Sternberg cell, is associated with Hodgkins lymphoma.
If cancer is found, your prognosis and treatment depend on the location, size, and stage of the cancer, as well as your general health. Staging is an evaluation to determine whether the cancer has spread and, if it has, what body parts are affected.
The following factors are used to determine the stage of Hodgkins disease:
Additional tests to determine staging may include:
Stages have an A and a B level. In Stage B, a person with Hodgkins lymphoma experiences general symptoms from the disease—fever, night sweats, or significant weight loss. If these specific symptoms are not present, the classification is A.
Relapsed is the term used for a cancer that has persisted. Refractory is the term used for a cancer that has returned following treatment.
Casciato D. Manual of Clinical Oncology . 6th ed. Lippincott Williams & Williams; 2009
Hodgkin disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated March 8, 2013. Accessed April 30, 2013.
Hodgkin lymphoma. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/hodgkin. Accessed April 30, 2013.
Last reviewed April 2013 by Mohei Abouzied, MD; Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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