Follicular Lymphoma: Diagnosis

The first sign of Follicular Lymphoma is often a painless swelling in the neck, armpit or groin caused by enlarged lymph nodes. Some people also report loss of appetite and fatigue.

An accurate assessment of Follicular Lymphoma requires a number of diagnostic tests. First, a hematopathologist (a doctor specializing in the identification of hematologic malignancies) will examine tumor tissue under a microscope and confirm the diagnosis. Examinations and additional testing will then be performed to determine how far the disease has spread (staging) and how well the body is functioning. As with most indolent lymphomas, people with follicular lymphoma usually will present with disease in many parts of the body, including the bone marrow.

All of these factors will help the patient’s healthcare team determine the best course of treatment. To learn more about specific diagnostic tests, including biopsies, blood tests, bone marrow examination, X-rays, computerized tomography (CT) scans, and positron emission tomography (PET) scanning, read the Lymphoma Research Foundation’s comprehensive booklet, Understanding Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.