Clinicians may need to perform a range of tests to determine whether you have Hodgkin lymphoma or non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Getting a second opinion is also a good idea when you are trying to determine whether you have a form lymphoma. If you notice signs of lymphoma, getting them checked promptly is important. The earlier cancer is found, the easier it is to treat. During the lymphoma diagnosis process, your doctor will measure the size of your lymph nodes, liver and spleen and collect information about your medical history and symptoms.

During this laboratory test, a clinician can identify cancer cells according to antigens or proteins that are evident on the cells’ surface. 

This test to diagnose an enlarged lymph node typically includes excisional biopsy. This is the removal of an entire lymph node. Your doctor may also perform an incisional biopsy, which is removing part of the lymph node. A core biopsy, which is the removal of tissue from a lymph node with a large needle, is also an option. Depending on the location of the lymph node to be biopsied, you will need either local or general anesthesia. 

If your doctor determines that you have lymphoma, tests to stage your disease will be conducted to identify more details about your cancer, such as location and how far it has developed. Blood tests, bone marrow tests and imaging tests may be part of this process. 

After a biopsy, patients will be contacted by a Markey team member to review results. Further management will be recommended at that time.

When you are diagnosed with lymphoma, it is common to feel a sense of urgency around starting treatment. However, in most cases there is time to do the needed research to ensure that your diagnosis is correct. That may include getting a second opinion.

Our team of experts works together to diagnose, treat and prevent lymphoma, with a focus on individualized patient care.

Markey is among the best cancer centers in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report, when it comes to advanced treatment options, survival rates and experienced providers. As the first and only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center in Kentucky, Markey can serve many patients each year with rare and common cancers, including lymphoma.

Our specialized team is happy to work with your doctors and communicate to ensure confidence in your diagnosis.

Should I get a second opinion?

A second opinion can help to ensure that you will be getting the latest and most effective therapy for treating lymphoma. The following are common reasons for seeking a second opinion after your initial diagnosis:

  • You are having difficulty understanding your diagnosis.
  • A dedicated team specialized in your cancer type may not be available in your area.
  • There may be uncertainty around the stage of lymphoma.
  • You may want to learn more about different treatment options, including clinical trials and advanced technologies only available at an advanced center like Markey.
  • Your health insurance requires a second opinion before continuing toward treatment.

Questions to ask when getting a second opinion

After receiving a cancer diagnosis, you may have a lot on your mind. Here a few questions to keep in mind for your doctor when seeking a second opinion:

  • Is there a chance that my medical problem could have a different diagnosis?
  • Are there additional tests I should take before moving forward with treatment?
  • Do you recommend any treatments at this time?
  • What do you expect to happen if I wait or don't have the treatment?
  • What are the side effects of treatment?
  • How long are treatment recovery periods?

For more information, visit these trusted national sources for a variety of additional educational tools and resources:

Related Stories

NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center - A Cancer Center Designated by the National Cancer Institute

Markey Cancer Center is designated by the National Cancer Institute as a Comprehensive Cancer Center – a distinction that recognizes our commitment to accelerating precision cancer research and care to patients. We are the first and only NCI-Comprehensive Cancer Center in Kentucky, and one of 56 in the nation.