Lymph node biopsy

This technique is used to diagnose a lymphoma.

It involves the microscopic study of the tissue of the involved node. Perfoming a biopsy, a sample or perhaps even the whole adenopathy will be removed. In general, a small surgery with local anesthesia will be needed. It does not produce considerable discomfort, especially if the node is external. A biopsy of the internal nodes or other organs such as the stomach or liver is seldom needed.

Biopsy is the only way to diagnose lymphoma and to determine the type.. Therefore, it is essential to decide which treatment is to be followed.

Extension study

Once the diagnosis is performed, additional examinations must be done to determine the extent of the disease. THis is called extension study of the lymphoma and it consists of the following tests:

* complete blood test
* thoracic X-rays
* Computed Tomography, also called CT scan of thorax, abdomen and pelvis
* bone marrow biopsy
and in some cases:
* nuclear magnetic resonance
* nuclear scan
* fibrogastroscopy, fibrocolonoscopy or fibrobronchoscopy

By means of the biopsy and the additional tests, the doctor can assess the condition of the organs and the stage of the disease, so that he/she can establish a treatment

In order to quantify the extent of the disease, we use the Ann Arbor classification, which defines four degrees in the condition or stages (from I to IV):

I. a single node region
II. two or more node regions confined to one side of the diaphragm
III. two or more node regions spread to both sides of the diaphragm
IV. involvement of other extra lymphatic organs (what in other types of cancer is called metastasis)