Lymphoma is a type of cancer develops in human’s white blood cells present in the lymphatic system. Symptoms in this case include lymph nodes in enlarged form, fatigue, unusual weight loss, breathing shortness or cough difficulty and others. A lymphatic system consists of a network of various small channels more or less similar to blood vessels responsible to circulate the fluid called lymph, bone marrow, lymph nodes or glands and many other organs consisting of lymphocytes.
Doctors perform physical tests or order blood tests and even biopsy of the lymph node to evaluate lymphoma condition of patients. In addition, depending on the complications and symptoms you experience, doctors may recommend you for chest X-ray, PET, body CT scan, lumbar puncture, bone scan, abdominal ultrasound or body MRI to determine the spread of lymphoma.
Can An Ultrasound Detect Lymphoma?
Abdominal ultrasound is useful for examining enlarged lymph nodes, especially if they are present in the patients’ abdominal areas. Ultrasound is useful for imaging kidneys and other abdominal organs affected from enlarged lymph nodes in lymphoma.
Details of the Procedure
Overview of Ultrasound Scan
Ultrasound scan creates pictures of the internal organs present in your body. The scan uses sound waves, which come out from an instrument called probe and it travels throughout your body. These are of high-frequency i.e. fast traveling waves, because of which human ears cannot hear such sound waves. High-frequency waves bounce off from your organs and tissues, while echoes create picture of your body’s internal organs.
Ultrasound Scan Procedures
Procedure involved depends on the specific type of ultrasound scan, with which you opt to undergo and accordingly-
- Internal ultrasound scan involves insertion of a probe within the body
- External ultrasound scan uses probe on the patient’s skin
Internal Ultrasound Scan
Doctors and pathologists do not use internal ultrasound scan frequently to detect lymphoma. In this type of scan, doctors use a small camera to look at the body organs. The camera remains attached either to a flexible tube called endoscope or to a probe, while it passes within an opening in your body, often your mouth. Doctors may give you a relaxant or a sedative to make the complete procedure easy as well as comfortable. However, the procedure involves a relatively long time.
External Ultrasound Scan
Doctors examine lumps by performing external ultrasound scan, which you may feel i.e. palpable in various areas, like-
- Abdomen or abdominal pain
- Armpit and arms
- Groin, legs and neck
In case of an external ultrasound scan procedure for Lymphoma, you have to lie on the back over a couch.
A sonographer or radiographer i.e. a specialist in medical diagnostics and imagery rubs gel on your skin on the body part that doctors want to examine. Later on, doctors gently press a probe in handheld form that appears more or less similar to a microphone on your skin. They move the probe across the patient to create a picture over a computer screen. The scan procedure takes place only 15 minutes.
Objectives of Ultrasound in Lymphoma Patients
Doctors use ultrasound in people with lymphoma to meet the following major objectives-
- Examination of the neck, abdominal organs or stomach and pelvis, while examination of other areas, where swelling remains present i.e. within the groin area and beneath armpits
- Identification of the best place to perform biopsy of a gland or lymph node and other nearby swelling areas i.e. ultrasound guided type of biopsy.
- Ultrasound is helpful in finding the best possible position to place within a central line i.e. a thin tube placed within a vein to give you the necessary drugs and to collect blood samples.