How We Diagnose Childhood Hodgkin Lymphoma

Expert Care and Treatment for Childhood Blood Cancers

The Hematologic Malignancy Center at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center is one of the top pediatric leukemia and lymphoma treatment centers in the world. In addition to treating blood cancers, our Center also treats histiocytosis, a condition that shares some of the characteristics of cancer.

Childhood Hematologic Malignancy Center

In addition to a complete physical examination, doctors diagnose Hodgkin lymphoma by using:

  • Blood tests: These can include a complete blood count, blood chemistry, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) to look for evidence of inflammation.
  • Chest X-ray: These images will help identify presence of disease in the chest.
  • Computerized tomography (CT or CAT) and positron emission tomography (PET) scans: These types of imaging are performed to help determine all sites of disease in the body before treatment begins.
  • Surgical biopsy: A tissue sample is removed from the tumor site while the patient is under anesthesia so that a pathologist may look at the cells closely under the microscope and help make an accurate diagnosis.
  • Bone marrow biopsy and aspiration: Bone marrow is removed from the bone (usually the back of the hipbone) to help determine if there is disease in this location. This procedure is usually only performed in patients with evidence of advanced disease.

After all tests are completed, doctors will be able to outline the best treatment options.