Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma
Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma, or CTCL for short, or a rare skin cancer that looks like eczema but usually without the itch. This is a specialized condition that not all dermatology providers can manage. It usually presents on the sun-protected skin, such as the inner arms, buttocks and inner thighs as pink, dry patches. It usually develops in older patients, with a higher incidence in African-American males.
At Michigan Dermatology Institute, we are trained in caring for and managing CTCL. We know that having a lymphoma on your skin is scary, and we are here to care for you and treat you like family. We use the most up-to-date science to provide a patient-specific treatment plan that is right for you. Call us today!
Q: Does this mean that I have Lymphoma?
A: Fortunately, CTCL is usually a lymphoma that is confined to the skin, but can on occasion become a systemic condition. The most common variants are classified as indolent behavior by the WHO, which means they tend to be very responsive to treatment and usually do not progress to life-threatening. We like to think of most cases as “skin-only” lymphoma.
Q: What is the course of this disease?
A: The first step is an in-office evaluation, including a total body skin exam including lymph node evaluation. Skin biopsies, and potentially bloodwork are also part of the work-up. After collecting all of this information, a comprehensive treatment approach will be discussed and initiated. It is important to understand that remission is very possible, but lifelong surveillance is a must.
Q: What kinds of treatments are available for CTCL?
A: Most of the time the diagnosis is delayed by months to years, and several of the 1st line treatments are already being used. Skin based therapies include topical steroids, topical retinoids, topical nitrogen mustard, topical immunomodulators and phototherapy. Systemic therapies include pills and potentially clinical trials. Sometimes we need to collaborate with an oncologist, when it gets more advanced, to initiate more aggressive therapies. Fortunately, most of the time this is unnecessary, but we have a comprehensive team available.