What is Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma?
Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma (CTCL) is a rare form of skin cancer that originates in the white blood cells called T cells. CTCL is also referred to as mycosis fungoides. These cells normally help the body to fight germs, but this form of cancer leads to abnormalities that make them attack the skin.
Common signs & symptoms of CTCL include:
- Patches of skin that are raised, scaly, and itchy
- Rashes that chronically appear in areas that are sun-protected
- Lumps that form on the skin
- Hair loss
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Thickened skin on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet
- Skin redness that appears as a rash that is very itchy
Who is a Good Candidate for Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma Treatment?
Individuals who are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above should see a dermatologist regarding their skin. There are a number of tests and procedures that are used to diagnose cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, including a physical exam, blood tests, skin biopsies, and imaging tests. The best way to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment is to schedule a consultation with one of our dermatologists.
What to Expect During Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma Treatment?
There are many different types and stages of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. The type of cancer you have will help to determine which treatment options are best for you. Common treatment options include:
Skin creams and ointments: Medications can be applied to the skin as a cream, gel, or ointment. Corticosteroids can help with symptoms such as skin itchiness and redness, while chemotherapy can be applied to attack cancer cells.
Medications: These may include certain medications that control the immune system such as steroid drugs, medications that attack quickly growing cells such as chemotherapy medications, and targeted therapy medications, which attack cancer cells by targeting their vulnerabilities.
Phototherapy: This involves exposing the skin to light wavelengths, such as ultraviolet A or B. In some cases, phototherapy in the form of PUVA is done after a medication (psoralen) is taken that causes the skin cells to be more sensitive to light (UVA).
Radiation therapy: This involves the use of beams of energy to destroy cancer cells. If more than one area of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma is present, standard radiation using X-rays may be needed. For people with more areas of cancer, electron beam radiation may be recommended.
There are also some lifestyle and home remedies that may help to relieve symptoms, such as itching, as well as reduce your risk for infections. Using mild, unscented soap, and keeping the skin moisturized are great ways to relieve itching. You can also speak with your doctor regarding bleach baths, which may reduce your risk for infections.
Schedule a Consultation
To schedule your consultation appointment regarding T-cell lymphoma, contact our office today. This will be your first step toward treatment, during which your dermatologist or physician assistant will assess your symptoms and your skin to properly diagnose and treat you.
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