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Can I Get Checked for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Before I Have Symptoms?

Older man getting check-up from doctor

Screening tests check for signs of disease in people who don’t have any symptoms. Your doctor can check you for some types of cancer, even before you have symptoms. But there is no good way to screen for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

If you have enlarged lymph nodes that are not caused by a common infection or that do not return to a normal size after a couple of weeks, your doctor may recommend a biopsy of a lymph node to check for lymphoma cells. Lymphoma can be in the body for months or years before a person shows any signs or symptoms of the disease. If you have any symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible.

For people at higher risk for lymphoma (due to HIV or hepatitis C infection, organ transplant, autoimmune disease, or prior cancer treatment), regular medical checkups are important. These people do not commonly develop lymphoma, but they and their doctors should be familiar with possible symptoms of lymphoma.