CNS Lymphoma Diagnosis

Neuro-oncologist Elena Pentsova speaks to a group of colleagues.

Neuro-oncologist Elena Pentsova is an expert in diagnosing and treating many central nervous system cancers, including CNS lymphoma.

People who develop symptoms that suggest they may have central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma may have one or more of the following diagnostic tests:

  • An MRI of the brain so doctors can see where the cancer is located. On an MRI, CNS lymphoma in the brain may appear as a single tumor or more than one. CNS lymphoma tumors are usually surrounded with less swelling in the brain than other types of brain tumors are.
  • An eye exam to look for fluid and tumors in the eyes.
  • A test in which fluid is removed from the spinal column, called a spinal tap. Once the fluid is removed, it will be evaluated with testing called cytology and flow cytometry.
  • A CT scan or a PET scan to look for signs of lymphoma in other parts of the body.
  • A bone marrow biopsy to look for signs of cancer in the bone marrow.

If these tests suggest that you may have CNS lymphoma, your doctor will need to perform a biopsy to remove cells from the tumor. A pathologist will then examine these cells under a microscope to determine what kind of cancer you have.

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