How Is Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Diagnosed?

Various methods for diagnosing Hodgkin’s lymphoma are used to detect the disease with accuracy and as early as possible. In this environment of innovation, the diagnostic techniques are not kept isolated. The diagnostic research industry is working day and night to provide the patients with highly advanced and sophisticated technology for diagnosing their diseases with the techniques which are minimally invasive. Early diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the basic step for favorable prognosis. Delay in diagnosis of the disease due to old-age diagnostic methods leads to the complexity and require an aggressive treatment, which reduces the patients’ compliance and their chances of survival.

How Is Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Diagnosed?

Early diagnosis is an essential element in successful treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The physician should have the expertise to perform a preliminary diagnosis and then advise the patient to consult oncologist for confirmatory diagnosis. The initial or the preliminary diagnosis starts with the examination of physical symptoms such as enlarged lymph nodes and night sweats. Further diagnosis is done through advanced technologies involving imaging techniques and tissue biopsy. Following are the various diagnostic methods generally used for the diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma:

  1. Blood Tests: The blood tests for diagnosing Hodgkin’s lymphoma are an important tool to provide an idea about the internal condition of the body as the blood is the connective tissue flowing through every organ of the body. Thus, any chemical or structural change in the body can be investigated on the basis of blood tests. The important parameters of the blood test include complete cell count, blood chemistry, flow cytometry, blood smear and presence of certain chemicals which are the characteristic features of certain anomalies in body.
  2. Physical Examination: By the symptoms presented by the patient, the physician may be able to find out the probable cause of the symptoms. The physician may advise the patient to oncologist for further evaluation to confirm the diagnosis. The symptoms of Hodgkin’s lymphoma include enlarged lymph nodes, weight loss, high fever and night sweats.
  3. Biopsy: Biopsy is the diagnostic technique which provides most accurate result. In the biopsy, the tissue is withdrawn from the affected organ and is examined under the microscope. This will help in identifying whether the cancerous cells are present in the tissue. Biopsy for Hodgkin’s lymphoma is of various types. If whole of the affected organ is removed, it is known as excisional biopsy and when only a part of the affected organ is withdrawn then it is incisional biopsy. Another method for biopsy is through needle. The needle is inserted in the affected organ and the sample is withdrawn for analysis. However, biopsy with needle has disadvantage as sufficient sample is not withdrawn by this method.
  4. Imaging Techniques: These are the non-invasive techniques which are one of the important techniques used for diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The imaging techniques used in the diagnosis of lymphoma includes X-ray, computed tomography scan, magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission technology, bone scan and ultrasound. The imaging techniques are not only used to diagnose Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the initial stage rather they are also used to examine the effect of treatment on the cancerous cells or tissue.

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Symptoms

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma presents various symptoms which are used in the diagnosis of the disease. The preliminary examination of lymphoma is done through the general symptoms presented by the patient and identified by the physician. Following may be the initial symptoms of Hodgkin’s lymphoma:


For the diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, various techniques are used. The methods used may be both invasive and non-invasive. The diagnosis is initiated by the patient consulting a physician for his symptoms. Then the patient is transferred to an oncologist for further examination. After the biopsy is done and the disease is confirmed, then the next step is to identify how far the disease has been spread. On this basis, particular stage is designated to the disease and the treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma is initiated.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 25, 2021

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