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Biopsy for Hodgkin lymphoma

What is a biopsy?

During a biopsy, a doctor removes a sample of tissue or fluid from the body. A pathologist inspects the cells under a microscope to see if they are cancerous. If the cells are found to be cancerous, a biopsy can help determine whether the cancer began at the site of the biopsy, or if it started somewhere else in the body and spread to the biopsy site.

Some biopsies are performed under image guidance, such as ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This allows your doctor to collect cells from deeper inside the body. Depending on the type of biopsy performed, you will receive an anesthetic to minimize any pain.

Biopsy medical animation

Video: Biopsy Medical Animation

Medical animation

Biopsy for Hodgkin lymphoma

A biopsy is a common diagnostic test for Hodgkin lymphoma. Our pathologists will examine the cells from a biopsy sample under a microscope to look for the presence of an abnormal lymphocyte called the Reed-Sternberg cell (or B lymphocyte). These distinctive cells are larger than normal lymphocytes and have large, pale nuclei.

We may use the below biopsies to determine the growth rate of the tumor and whether the disease has spread:

  • Bone marrow biopsy: The removal of a sample of bone marrow
  • Lymph node biopsy: The removal of all or part of a lymph node
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