Stages of Hodgkin's Lymphoma
The stages of Hodgkin's lymphoma range from stage I through stage IV, and are further categorized based on where the cancer is found, where it has spread, and what symptoms a patient has. For the purposes of treatment, other stages of Hodgkin's lymphoma may be used to describe cases of the cancer. These treatment stages include early favorable, early unfavorable, advanced favorable, and advanced unfavorable.
The process used to find out if cancer has spread within the lymph system or to other parts of the body is called staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage, or extent, of Hodgkin's lymphoma (also known as Hodgkin's disease). It is important to know the stage in order to plan Hodgkin's lymphoma treatment.
The following tests and procedures may be used in the staging process:
- CT scan
- PET scan
- Bone marrow biopsy
- Chest x-ray
- Needle or surgical biopsy
A CT scan (also called a CAT scan) is a procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles. The pictures are made by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography. For adult Hodgkin's lymphoma, CT scans of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis are taken.
A PET scan (positron emission tomography scan) is a procedure used to find cancerous tumor cells in the body. A small amount of radionuclide glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein. The PET scanner rotates around the body and makes a picture of where glucose is being used in the body. Malignant tumor cells show up brighter in the picture because they are more active and take up more glucose than normal cells.