The gold standard for diagnosing lymphoma is a biopsy, during which a pathologist looks closely at a small piece of tissue suspected to be affected by the disease. Biopsy tissue is removed for examination in one of two ways:

  • through surgery, in which a doctor removes an entire lymph node, part of a lymph node, or a piece of the diseased tissue
  • through an approach called core needle biopsy, in which a doctor inserts a hollow needle into a lymph node or tumor to remove a small amount of tissue or fluid. Our doctors have extensive expertise in this biopsy approach.

If the lymphoma appears to have spread, we may also perform a bone marrow biopsy, during which we take a small amount of tissue from inside the bone.

Our pathologists also run a variety of tests to determine the type of cell involved in the lymphoma (such as B cells or T cells) and to be sure your diagnosis is correct.

Some of these tests may also include genetic analyses, which can contribute information that helps us determine your prognosis, or how well you might do over time. This information can also help us select the most effective treatment for you.