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The staging and prognosis of lymphoma


The tests undertaken to diagnose lymphoma help your specialist work out how far the cancer has spread. This is known as staging, and it helps your health care team recommend the best treatment for you.

In Stage 1, lymphoma, cancer is found in only one lymph node area or one area/organ outside the lymph nodes.

In Stage 2, cancer is found in two or more lymph node areas on the same side of the diaphragm. Cancer is found in one area/organ outside the lymph nodes and in the lymph nodes around it. Other lymph node areas on the same side of the diaphragm may be involved.

In Stage 3, cancer is found in lymph node areas on both sides of the diaphragm. It may have spread to an area/organ near the lymph node area, or to the spleen, or both.

In Stage 4, cancer has spread in more than one spot, within or outside the lymphatic system (for example, liver, lung, bone marrow or bone).


Prognosis means the expected outcome of a disease. You may wish to discuss your prognosis with your doctor, but it is not possible for any doctor to predict the exact course of the disease. Instead, your doctor can give you an idea about the general prognosis for people with the same type and stage of cancer.

To come up with a prognosis, your doctor will consider:

  • test results;
  • the type of lymphoma you have;
  • the rate and extent of tumour growth; and
  • other factors such as age, fitness and medical history.

These details will also help your doctor advise you on the best treatment options.

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This information is reviewed by

This information was written and last reviewed in September 2020 by Cancer Council SA's experienced information team with support from national Cancer Council publications.