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Radiology/CT scan and liver/spleen lymphoma

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QUESTION: My brother has been diagnosed with liver and spleen cancer. They are saying lymphoma, which he had back in 1995 but was in remission. They are going to biopsy his lymph nodes. My question is this: Can the type and stage of the liver/spleen lymphoma/cancer be determined by a CT scan or does he need biopsies of those organs also??
Thank you so much!!!
~Nicole

ANSWER: Hello Nicole,

Spleen is rarely involved with other than lymphoma/leukemia cancer types. I think if the lymph node will show recurrent lymphoma, one can assume that everything abnormal is related to that just by probabilities. Although liver is not that common for lymphoma so depending on how exactly it looks, one may want to get liver MRI to further investigate the probabilities of other pathology.
Overall, however, most of the oncologists rely on biopsy rather than any imaging prior to a definite therapy.

Hope this helps.

MK

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for the information. They did the biopsy on the lymph nodes today and we should know on Thursday. They are wanting to start chemo already and I guess I am just concerned because I always thought the type of chemo/treatment depended on the "type" of cancer, such as Hodgkins vs Non-Hodgkins, etc. If it was up to me I would have them biopsy his liver, spleen and nodes. The liver not being a common area for lymphoma also has my "big sister" radar up.
~Nicole

Answer
Nicole,
sorry for the delay.
the biopsy should distinguish hodgkins vs non.  
It is important to discuss your concerns with your doctors.  It's okay to ask questions and keep your docs honest. :) I would discuss liver findings with your doctor, and make sure the experts are in agreement regarding the liver lesion. The spleen is not that concerning if biopsy will reveal lymphoma. I am sure your brother is in good hands; and i can certainly appreciate your worries.

Michael  

Radiology

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Michael K.

Expertise

Almost any kind of questions regarding any types of radiology exams, procedures, meaning of radiology reports etc...

Experience

12 year experience in the field of radiology

Organizations
American Society of Neuroradiology, Senior Member Society of Pediatric Radiology, Active Member

Publications
Radiology Seminars in pediatric neurology American Journal of Roentgenology American Journal of Neuroradiology

Education/Credentials
Board Certified in Diagnostic Radiology Additional Certificate of Qualification in Neuroradiology

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