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Hodgkin's Disease

See Also:
Hodgkin's Disease: Introduction & Pictures
Hodgkin's Disease: Signs & Symptoms
Hodgkin's Disease Lymphoma Stages
Hodgkin's Disease Medical Tests
Hodgkin's Disease Treatment Options
Cancer Search Engine

Medical Tests for Diagnosis

Physical Exam and History
A physical examination of the body is peformed to check for any noticeable signs of the disease like weight loss, fever, lumps or inflamed lymph nodes around the neck or underarm area. The examination will be continued with an in-depth anamnesis of the medical history about past illnesses and a complex investigation on any other symptom that the patient experienced and cannot be seen by the physical exam.

Blood Tests
The next step in order to make a correct diagnosis is blood tests. Hodgkin’s lymphoma cells do not appear in blood, but there are other indicators of this disease that can be detected through blood analysis like levels of anemia or high blood pressure.

A blood test is a procedure in which a sample of blood is drawn and essential components are checked such as: the number of red blood cells, the number of white cells, the amount of hemoglobin in the red blood cells, the portion of the sample made up of red blood cells, sedimentation rate (a procedure in which the blood sample is checked in order to establish the rate at which red blood cells settle to the bottom of the test tube) and the amount of certain essential substances released into the blood by organs and tissues in the body.

 

Chest X-Ray and Computer Tomography (CT)
If the inflammated lymph nodes are in the chest area, they can be seen in a plain chest x-ray. In most cases, an X-Ray image is followed by a CT scan in order to obtain a better image of the tumor. The CT scan is an advanced x-ray procedure that produces a more detailed cross-sectional image of the body. The CT scan procedure involves two phases: in the first phase a first set of pictures will be taken and in the second phase the patient will receive an intravenous injection (IV) of a radiocontrast agent in order to better outline the structure of the body and a second set of pictures will be taken. The two sets of pictures are then compared against each other.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
This technique is not commonly used as a method to diagnose Hodgkin’s lymphoma. However, it might be employed if there is some concern if the spinal cord or brain is being affected. This procedure uses strong magnets that cause the release of energy when turned on and off. This energy is then translated by a special computer into a detailed pictures of different body parts.

Gallium Scan
This procedure involves the administration of Gallium-67, a radioactive substance that is injected intravenously into the body. This substance is left for a couple of hours to be absorbed into the Hodgkin’s disease affected areas and then the patient will be placed under a special scanner that will record the absorbed radioactivity on a special film.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
This procedure is a new type of radioactive scan. A special glucose substance that contains a radioactive atom is being administrated to the patient and a special camera will detect radioactivity. Hodgkin’s disease cells have a high rate of metabolism and makes them absorb a high amount of radioactive sugar. This procedure is effectively used in detecting Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It is used after the treatment for a better visualization of the left tumors or scar tissues.

Bone Marrow Biopsy and Aspiration
A bone marrow biopsy is a procedure where a small amount of bone is removed. This procedure is used to detect if the Hodgkin’s disease has spread to the bone marrow.

Similar with the biopsy is the aspiration procedure which allows a small amount of bone marrow to be removed.

These two tests are used to settle cancer staging and are recommended if the person that suffers from Hodgkin’s disease displays anemia, fever or night sweats - signs that the cancer is affecting the bone marrow. In order to determine cancer staging biopsy can be performed not just for bone tissue, but by removing the whole lymph. This type of biopsy is easy to perform if swelling nodes are present around the neck area.

See Also:
Hodgkin's Disease: Introduction & Pictures
Hodgkin's Disease: Signs & Symptoms
Hodgkin's Disease Lymphoma Stages
Hodgkin's Disease Medical Tests
Hodgkin's Disease Treatment Options
Cancer Search Engine

Article by Alina Morrow, MS
Medical Writer
OmniMedicalSearch.com

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Page Last Modified:
10/10/2010