Dr. Cheson on the Diagnosis of Follicular Lymphoma

Partner | Cancer Centers | <b>Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center</b>

Bruce D. Cheson, MD, Professor of Medicine, Head of Hematology, Director of Hematology Research, Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, discusses the diagnosis of patients with follicular lymphoma.

Bruce D. Cheson, MD, Professor of Medicine, Head of Hematology, Director of Hematology Research, Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, discusses the diagnosis of patients with follicular lymphoma.

A follicular lymphoma diagnosis often occurs incidentally, Cheson says. Too often, physicians perform a fine-needle aspiration biopsy, an inadequate way of making the diagnosis compared to an incisional or excisional biopsy. Once the diagnosis is made, patients undergo a number of staging procedures: CAT and PET scans as well as bone marrow biopsies to determine disease is in its advanced stage. Cheson says that about 80 to 90% of patients do in fact have advanced stage disease.

A physician will then assign a Follicular Lymphoma International Prognostic Index (FLIPI)&lrm; score by analyzing a patient's nodal areas, LDH, age, stage, and hemoglobin level to determine risk.